Under Murdoch, Wall Street Journal has de-emphasized business news

Project for Excellence in Journalism
The Project for Excellence in Journalism has looked at the front pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times over the past four years to see if the Journal has changed since 2007, when Rupert Murdoch bought the paper. “Under the Australian-born media magnate, coverage has clearly moved away from what had been the paper’s core mission under previous ownership—covering business and corporate America,” PEJ says in the report. Front-page coverage of business issues is down about one-third. Due to shifts in coverage at both papers, the Journal used to devote four times as much of its front pages to business and economics coverage as The New York Times did; that ratio is now about 2:1. “When it comes to the quantity of coverage of major topics, the evidence suggests that the Times and the Journal have indeed become more competitive since Murdoch bought the paper.”

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  • http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/ Tom Foremski

    Good point about business news moving out of the ghetto. I agree, follow the money, it always makes for a much better story.

  • Anonymous

    DOES NOT MAKE SENSE — OF COURSE

    Sigh. It is a daily event, math mistakes by “business” reporters.

    A percentage involves a numerator and denominator. Without knowing the
    denominator (total pages) — the percentage makes no sense. Pages
    increase? Decrease? Who knows?

    And there are exogenous matters. Was there a recession recently? Uh … PERCENTAGE!

    This would be LOL .. if it didn’t happen everyday, wasting billions of dollars.

    Insane, ridiculous and a friggin’ joke.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JOYV6BQEZZDH5RVWKFLYXUNAVI C.A.

    DOES NOT MAKE SENSE — OF COURSE

    Sigh. It is a daily event, math mistakes by “business” reporters.

    A percentage involves a numerator and denominator. Without knowing the denominator (total pages) — the percentage makes no sense. Pages increase? Decrease? Who knows?

    And there are exogenous matters. Was there a recession recently? Uh … PERCENTAGE!

    This would be LOL .. if it didn’t happen everyday, wasting billions of dollars.

    Insane, ridiculous and a friggin’ joke.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    Murdoch is too often blamed for, or credited with, small decisions that likely weren’t his. But it’s difficult to know for sure because he swoops in and out. Sometimes he *does* make small decisions. 

    In this case (direction of coverage — not a small decision) I think it’s fair to assume that at the very least Thomson is doing what he thinks Murdoch wants done, and that it’s far more likely that Murdoch, who is quite deeply invested in competing with the Times, explicitly decided on the paper’s coverage and presentation strategies. 

    I don’t think that’s bad. Leaving aside whether the WSJ’s coverage has gotten better or worse under Murdoch (my own assessment: both), I think the less ghettoized business journalism is, the better, and the more a business publication touches on economics and politics, the better. I’d rather have a WSJ that’s competing with the NYT than one that’s competing with Investor’s Business Daily. And this is just presentation in any case — what goes on the front page, an increasingly irrelevant datapoint. 

  • Anonymous

    But Michael Wolff (or was it Keith Olbermann?) suggested he sets atop a nerve center and knows all!

    This is more anti-News Corp poppycock. I regularly read the Journal and have to skip about 70% of the stories because I just don’t have the time to peruse news about this corporation story and that small business story.

  • http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/ Tom Foremski

    Surely, it’s under the leadership of Robert Thomson that the WSJ has added more general and more NYC specific content. I don’t think Rupert Murdoch has time to direct every business in his portfolio.