Let's start class today with a quick question: Is The Wall Street Journal's new reconfiguration just business as usual, or does it relate somehow to the seemingly realistic expectation that Dow Jones'
Clearly it's the former. Indeed, from my perspective, the changes -- which will take effect in July -- represent both an effort by Marcus W. Brauchli, the Journal's new managing editor, to put his stamp on his operation and a fulfillment of some of the promises that the paper's brass made when it was reconfigured earlier this year. Indeed, a key objective is to strengthen the synergies between the paper and its online counterpart.
Here, in a nutshell, is what will be taking place at the Journal: First, Bill Grueskin, now the managing editor of WSJ.com, will assume oversight of all forms of news. According to Brauchli, he'll "oversee a melding of the online and print Journals and a rethinking of how we approach and produce news."
At the same time, Alan Murray, an assistant managing editor and the Journal's "Business" columnist, will become executive editor, online. His responsibilities will include an amalgamation of online, video, and mobile output, along with the company's relationship with CNBC.
Of course, there will be other editor-level moves. But at the risk of tossing out too much detail, I'll note only that another of Brauchli's intentions is a smoother coordination of the U.S., European, and Asian versions of the Journal, both print and online. And, from a memo from Gordon Crovitz, the paper's publisher: "A key theme of these changes is that the Journal will be structured to report the news 24/7, across print and online, reflecting the way our readers and consumers increasingly consume it."
So as we await the Bancrofts' latest proposal for insuring that Murdoch's presence would not hurt the Journal, should the family decide to accept his offer, it is business as usual at the paper. It appears to me that, given the franchise's specific audience and its targeted product, the Journal likely will have more success growing its online version and effectively coordinating that entity with the print product than will the general circulation publishers, including Gannett
Nevertheless, and pending the Bancrofts' missive to Murdoch, Fools would be well advised to recognize that there are better media targets for their investment dollars than newspaper publishers of any stripe.
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