Wall Street Journal: “Interpretation is Key” in Reporting

by Dan Blank on December 26, 2006

A video preview of the newly redesigned Wall Street Journal gives us some insight into how they view journalism’s evolution in today’s world of information overload and multimedia lifestyle.

Gordon Crovitz, Publisher of The Wall Street Journal says that readers want more help in cutting through information overload, to know what the news really means, not just what happened the previous day.

As an example, Managing Editor Paul E. Steiger discussed a breaking story from this past fall. Looking at how the competition covered the event the next morning, he says that they all covered what readers already know. The Journal, however, focused on “…the implications of the days events, and where events were likely go next.”

This is an interesting point. With more media encroaching on our lives, people seem to be asking for expert interpretations to help them navigate the world. There are many journalists who feel that reporting should only consists of presenting the facts as they happened, without any sort of interpretation that could lead to bias or subjectivity.

Mr. Steiger also says that they see the print edition as a specially selected set of stories, chosen to get readers prepared for their day. The website on the other hand, seems to be the complete resource, giving readers constantly updated news and information throughout their workdays.

Mario Gracia, Design Consultant to the Journal, says that their print edition has imported navigational strategies from the web, to help ensure readers can find information quickly. It will also include more summaries and graphics that appeal to readers who scan, and they will promote other media that may be available online that supports the story.

Like B2B readers in other industries, he describes the Wall Street Journal’s audience as “demanding, knowledgeable, and impatient.”

(linked via Cyberjournalist.net)

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