At the NYT, media smart-guy David Carr analyses Rupert Murdoch’s influence on the WSJ, which is already apparent on the paper’s front page: It’s full of political stories.
Four years ago, John Kerry effectively captured the Democratic nomination and made a brief appearance on Page 1, but then it was back to the business of business. In January 2008, there were 23 Page 1 stories about politics, up from 14 in 2004, but even those numbers do not fully reflect all the pages and talent that has been poured into political stories throughout the paper.
Every issue on every day, the front page has been filled with hard-core political news, including a blowout on Tuesday that included a dozen politically oriented articles, three of them on the front page.
Rupe loves politics in the same way that some people love sports, so no surprise to see them ascendant at the Journal. But the stories are part of a larger strategy afoot at the paper: Turning it into a general interest paper that will compete directly with the NYT.
As previously discussed, the WSJ is phasing out some long-held features like the “A-hed”, the signature long, quirky narrative in the middle of the paper, while creating entirely new coverage areas, like sports. And soon, WSJ managing editor Marcus Brauchli, suggests, the WSJ will ramp up coverage of “the arts” — which we gather is code for TV, movies, music more than it is poetry, sculpture, theatre.
The risk is that the WSJ’s core business readers will be turned off by the changes and head elsewhere. But from Murdoch’s perspective, this doesn’t seem like a risk: What other national newspaper covers U.S. business like his newest acquisition?
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