Saving Journalism: A Focus on Quality and your Reader

At 6am, I saw that little white dot on my driveway. The newly redesigned Wall Street Journal. At 7am, I picked it up, and it, surprisingly, felt heavy. A half hour later, I was experiencing what I was really looking forward to – turning the pages on the train, without bumping into the person sitting next to me. It is actually smaller than I imagined. I half expect the front page to read “The Wall Street Jour.” Ah, progress.

Wall Street Journal Publisher L. Gordon Crovitz describes the changes to the newspaper as more than skin deep. The new design is:

“…meant to establish the Journal as the first newspaper rethought for how readers increasingly now get their news, often in real time, from many sources, all day long.”

What I love about that statement is that it sidelines so many of the arguments I have been reading about recently. It is not a matter of tradition vs. innovation, or blogs vs. journalism. It is about the reader – and delivering quality content.

When you remove the jargon and the tradition, these two elements should drive change within publishing and media.

While it is fun to look at each of the new features, I am just glad that they are taking such a critical look at their paper, and working to bridge any gaps they find.

In some ways I am not quickly impressed: In reading it this morning, I found myself a bit annoyed at how quickly you had to jump from the cover into the paper, although this had more to do with high winds waiting for the train, than anything else.

In other ways, it has offered a better experience: I like the “In Summary” boxes, because I just didn’t feel like reading the whole article for “Belarus Yields to Russia.”

But overall, I am glad that they are focused on providing me with high quality journalism and content, and keeping in mind how I interact with their newspaper, and information sources throughout my day.

For a full review of changes, check out the Wall Street Journal Readers Guide PDF.