On Tuesday, Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson sent out a rather vague memo naming two high-ranking editorial staffers — Jim Pensiero, the Journal’s deputy managing editor; and Gabriella Stern, Dow Jones’ senior editor for global news coverage — as the leaders of a new “Special Project (notice the capital letters) crucial to our success as a company.”Thomson gave few details, aside from mentioning that it would be a “WSJ/DJ Special Project” rather than one specific to the Journal, and that they would become “editor-in-chief” and “managing editor” of the project respectively.
He also wrote:
They will have a large and dedicated (in both senses of the word) editorial staff and will be tapping the combined reporting might of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, which comprise the world’s most powerful engine for news and analysis.
So what does parent company News Corp. have up its sleeve with this one?
“An editor-in-chief and a managing editor? That suggests a separate news entity – a print paper just possibly, but more likely an online news outlet,” suggests Roy Greenslade of The Guardian.
Or perhaps the tablet-based newspaper News Corp. is developing? Except they’ve already named a leader for that effort — New York Post managing editor Jesse Angelo, and it looks like maybe a deputy as well: News Corp’s UK Sun editor Dominic Mohan announced yesterday that longtime Sun Online editor Pete Piction would be leaving the paper and relocating to New York to help “launch a new digital project.” paidContent understands that project “to be the new, national U.S. newspaper title News Corp is developing for tablets only, on a subscription basis.”
Might the WSJ/DJ project be something similar? It wouldn’t be far fetched given how giddy News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is about the iPad and its role in the future of media. “It’s a real game changer in the presentation of news,” he said during News Corp’s Q4 earnings call on August 4. “I believe we’re gonna see around the world hundreds and hundreds of millions of these devices.”
paidContent’s Staci D. Kramer also has a few guesses:
My first two thoughts: a new edition picking up on the Journal’s previously strong business filter/focus or a new multi-platform, more general publication aimed at new readers just below the current subscribers—and designed to be national in the U.S. first, then global. It could be a new digital product, perhaps something aligned with News Corp’s own stealth project. But that’s just a little white boarding on my part.
Whatever it is, makes for a fun media mystery.
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