Why Are WSJ Reporters Defecting for NYT ?

Here’s a little inside baseball during a slow vacation week in August:

Two years ago, I suggested the changes that Rupert Murdoch was making to our beloved Wall Street Journal created an opening for both the NYT and the FT.

To borrow the words of the Columbia Journalism Review, the Murdoch approach of: “de-Journalizing the Journal, sexing up headlines, cutting story length, diluting depth, adding more stock photos and commodity news, going to straight-news ledes, replacing much of the masthead with non-WSJers, and heading generally to the more slap-dash, once-over-lightly British model” created an opening for others. I made the following suggestions:

“The coverage looks to becoming less business and money oriented, and more of a general interest paper — kinda like what the Washington Post and the New York Times already do.

In trying to extend the WSJ’s reach, Murdoch has left open its flank. That creates the opportunity for shrewd operators to expand their Business news. Hence, the opportunity for would be Journal’s competitors, and in particular, the NYT, to go after the Journal’s audience. The business goal would be to capture a significant percentage of the Journal’s expensed subscriptions.”

Apparently, I am not the only one who saw the problems with the Journals “Less Wall Street” approach. CJR is reporting that several senior Journal reporters who covered Wall Street for the WSJ have departed for the Times:

Susanne Craig, one of The Wall Street Journal’s star Wall Street reporters, is moving to The New York Times, a boost for the Times and the latest blow to the Journal’s coverage of that core beat.

Craig told The Audit she’s “looking forward to a new challenge.”

Craig’s departure follows that of Peter Lattman, another Journal staffer who also went to the Times, and earlier, that of her former partner in Wall Street coverage, Kate Kelly, who left for CNBC.

Fascinating stuff.

One would think that if your name was the The Wall Street Journal,  your emphasis would be Wall Street related news. Apparently, that view seems not to be the case, and a few reporters are voting with their feet.

Do not get me wrong — 3 reporters does not make a mass exodus. But its a safe bet that there will be future stars leaving the Journal for the Times, FT, Economist, and elsewhere.

Now the question remains: Will the NYT follow my advice, and substantially beef up their Business coverage ? Stay tuned . . .


Murdoch’s WSJ Changes Creates Opening for NYT, FT (April 24th, 2008)

WSJ Jumps the Shark (January 22nd, 2010)

Susanne Craig leaving WSJ for the NYT
A blow to the Journal
Dean Starkman
CJR, August 30, 2010

Two Can Play That Game, Rupert
The Times has the smarter strategy in the head-to-head with The Wall Street Journal
Ryan Chittum
CJR, August 30, 2010

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