Have You Noticed the Changes at the Wall Street Journal?

Last Updated Sep 29, 2008 11:39 AM EDT

The Wall Street Journal is right in the thick of the Crisis on Wall Street and the $700 Billion Bailout -- "it's like a post-9/11 atmosphere. People are eating and sleeping this thing every day," says Don Clark, deputy bureau chief of the Journal's San Francisco bureau.

But the current crisis isn't the only big change roiling the Journal. Press baron Rupert Murdoch took over the paper and its Dow Jones siblings last year, and he's not one to sit around. And of course, the growing dominance of the Internet over print as a means of communicating news and information is having a big impact too.

For starters, Rupert drove a long overdue revamp of the Journal's web site, making it much more modern and user-friendly, and introducing new features like "community" discussion groups and the ability to comment on articles.

He has also pushed for the paper to cover more non-business news, though it's still focused on serious news like the California budget stalemate, not fluff.

At a PRSA San Francisco media breakfast last week, Clark outlined some other changes:

  • The entire A section is now non-business news. The B section, while still called Marketplace, is now the home of corporate news that used to dominate the A section. For marketers and PR people, that translates into fewer pages for marketing stories.
  • Stories have to have a strong news hook. There's no more room for timeless features. This also plays against many of the soft news pitches favored by PR people who don't have a major news hook to tie their story to.
  • The Journal, Clark says, "used to be everyone's most important second read." Now, new ownership believes that people don't have time for a second read, and so the Journal is striving to cover more territory and become many people's only daily newspaper.
  • Online, the Journal is looking to post more graphics and video.
  • The Business Technology blog, previously a good place to pitch enterprise technology stories, is morphing into more of a general technology blog.
  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.