Did you just hear that? It sounded like the firing of a rifle coming from the office of Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson.The Journal is about to kick off its latest feature that will make it look more like The New York Times (which it wants to destroy): a new weekend section with lifestyle features (think Sunday Styles) and “essay-style reportage,” (think Week In Review), the AP reports.
It all sounds very Times-y, but Thomson brushed that notion off: “Nationally, there’s no contest now,” he told the AP. “We’re more than twice as big as The New York Times. They’re not a serious competitor.”
The new weekend section also will include the weekly book review pullout The Journal was recently revealed to have been developing. And the Journal has already beefed up its general interest news and added a New York metro section to get a piece of The Times turf.
There’s no comment in the AP piece from Times executive editor Bill Keller or publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. But contrary to what they’d have you believe, it seems safe to say that the war is on.
The Review section, comparable to the Times’ Week in Review, will carry essay-style pieces on big ideas and events, with a pullout section inside devoted to book reviews. Gary Rosen, a former Commentary magazine editor with a background from Stanford and Harvard universities will run the section. Robert Messenger, one of the founding editors of the shuttered New York Sun, will report to Rosen as head of the book section.
The Off Duty lifestyle section will hew more toward high-end consumer reporting: fashion, tech, home decorating and design. Deborah Needleman, the editor of home decor magazine Domino before it folded last year, is leading the section as well as WSJ magazine. She has brought in fellow Domino alumnus Ruth Altchek to help run things day-to-day and Kevin Sintumuang from GQ to edit tech and gadgets. (The Journal won’t reveal exactly how many extra staffers it has hired for the weekend.)
The lifestyle section, in particular, is supposed to help the Journal make a case that its advertisers can reach well-paid individuals in a buying state of mind.
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