Murdoch’s WSJ Changes Creates Opening for NYT

24 Apr

An interesting analysis from Barry L. Ritholtz on the opportunities open to news organizations like the NYTimes now that Murdoch is shaking up the WSJ. 

Murdoch’s changes are both ambitious and perplexing: He is seeking to shift the Journal’s coverage to include much more politics, more elections, more general government stuff. The Journal itself  reported the move to “put short articles on the front page or thefronts of sections that would not continue on inside pages.” The fear that paper might shift rightward in its news coverage is so far unfounded; instead,  it is the topics and subjects covered that is what is shifting. Financial news is losing out to Mr. Murdochs first love: Politics.

In other words, “De-Financializing” the paper. The coverage looks to becoming less business and finance oriented, and more of a general interest paper — kinda like what the Washington Post and the New York Times already do.

In trying to extend the WSJ’s reach, Murdoch has left its flank open. That creates the opportunity for a shrewd operator to expand their Business news. Hence, the opportunity for the Journal’s competitors, and in particular, the NYT, to go after the Journal’s audience. The business goal would be to  capture a significant percentage of the Journal’s expensed subscriptions.

How? First, I would beef up the business pages. Hire additional staff, especially the reporters at the WSJ itself. Second, raid the most popular WSJ blogs. They have some terrific  coverage there, and that would carry over to the NYT.com site. Even if unsuccessful in the hires, it makes the operation of the WSJ more costly — a technique not unfamiliar to Murdoch. Expand the business video coverage, using embeddable flash. Lastly, take the very successful Dealbook model — close integration of the blog, newspaper columns, and email list — and clone it to other related business issues: Marketbeat, RealTime Economics, etc.

NY Times NYTimes bldg exhibit NY Times Building New York Times

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