Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Fox Street Journal

David over at my 2 cents got me thinking about newspapering again today - as if I need a reason. He shares good news about online readership, particularly with the elusive 18-24 and 25-34 year old age groups. I love good news! Believe me, the newspaper business doesn't celebrate enough of it.

In addition, a brief that caught my eye this morning. Drinking coffee and eating a banana...sorry no bear claws today :)...I noted somebody wants to plunk down $5 billion for Dow Jones, the publishing company for the Wall Street Journal. I'm not a reader of WSJ but the bid made Page One - a prime piece of real estate. Columbia Journalism Review covers it here - darkly I might add. The Christian Science Monitor does a nice job here. MediaPost Publications gives it some play right here. Whether it comes to fruition or not, Rupert Murdoch buying THE brand in US financial news is a little bit creepy. Why does this guy - who already owns Fox News (using "news" lightly) and the London Times - want more?

Marketing Rag touches on the "conventional" wisdom. Which is that online revenue projects huge increases in the next 2-5 years and he wants to make more dough. Can't disagree and the guy was pretty shrewd buying MySpace but does MySpace generate the revenue of advertising dollars that newspapers do? Somebody tell me, please. Newspapers are a bargain right now. Advertising in them, too. Ask Google.

Here's the main issue for me - as more independently owned newspapers are gobbled up the balance of news tilts too far toward one voice. Thats a bad thing in a democracy. Call me old fashioned but Thomas Jefferson said it best:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
of course he also said:
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.

I'm not too sure what happiness has to do with it :)

Heres a spoof on what we can expect from the new WSJ.

I added a new widget - rate this post. I'll see how it plays.


David Reich said...

As you know, there's a tabloid war here in New York between Murdoch's New York Post and The Daily News. At every opportunity, one uses any excuse to make a dig at the other. The Post routinely refers to The News as The Daily Snooze.

The News got a good one in yesterday, in their story about Murdoch's bid for The Wall Street Journal. They ran a big mockup of what Murdoch's WS Journal might look like. The front page of the "new" Journal looked like it normally does. The entire righjt half had a big photo of Beyonce in a tight dress accenting her ample butt, with the headline "How Beyonce handles her assets."

Funny, but I hope it never comes to pass. We have more than enough lowest-common-denominator media following every move of Paris and Lindsey and other poor examples of behavior.

BobG said...

David - I always forget he owns the Post. Without a doubt, I hope it doesn't happen The reason you give is but one of them - but it's a key one.

Mario Vellandi said...

IMO, certain classes of publications have an increased responsibility to be fair and balanced, including finance and science. Even if it was just a subsidiary, the WSJ would still be connotated with the sleaze empire that is Murdoch.

Who'd be to gain? The Financial Times.

BobG said...

Absolutely Mario - fair and balanced at minimum is what we should expect from any AND all newspapers. Good point on the Financial Times, arguably the "other" branded finance source. Its the one I prefer skimming (which is not very often). Usually the local business page is enough for me. Here's a little irony if Murdoch does get the DJ purchase - the Financial Times also has interest in Vedomosti, a Russian financial publication. Its a joint venture and partnership with guess who? Dow Jones -

Lewis Green said...


I still bleed ink, and the current trend in media ownership is scary. The objective side of news seem to me to be losing out to the extremes on either side of an issue. Combined with the 24-hour news cycle, it is difficult to discern truth in the media anymore.

BobG said...

Great of you to comment Lewis - that blood (and newsprint) runs thick! The 24 hour cycle really has impacted us in ways we are only now talking about. You hit it on the head with discernment. I feel that is an trait/ability that reading enforces. And you gotta read a newspaper, right? Now truth ?!?! I like how Steven Colbert says much of the current media engages us in "truthiness".
Thanks again - your comments always cause me pause to think :)