Dear Wall Street Journal – Wake Up, Man!

14 06 2007

Some of the more traditional papers have realized a little while ago that Internet is the future of all media. They’ve tried to deny it, they’ve tried to ignore it, but they eventually gave in. I won’t be surprised if NY Times Digital makes more money than the newspaper. From what I’ve heard, out of all NY Times holdings, only is making profit. That bit of information is about six months too old. When the organization moves into the new building on 42nd street, right across from Port Authority bus terminal, not only will it have a new look but it’s expected to have a new attitude towards journalism and media; deserves applause. And I won’t be surprised if they – hush hush- dumped the old bags who refuse to change and go with a younger, more hip, Internet savvy, multi-functional group of journalists.

NY Times’s recent hiring of Brian Stelter is a brilliant move in the right direction. His blog TVNewser has been widely acclaimed in the media industry. And get this, he’s only 21, recently graduated from Towson Univ. in Baltimore and has only been blogging since 2004. Look what a blog can do for you. Why has his blog been successful? He’s a news junkie and his insight into the industry without being in the industry is remarkable.

So, back to Wall Street Journal. Why don’t they get it already? Raising the price is not going to help. It won’t save the paper. Keep the fucking thing a $1 – WSJ. You’ve already shaved a column off of the print version so you could save – who gives a shit – $X million dollars and re-sizing – who gives a rat’s ass – $Z million dollars in re-fit company’s this and re-coup – give it a rest already – $Y million dollars from this via that and those over there divided by some of this and a little bit of that.

Here’s what WSJ should do: 1) Re-design that awful looking website. 2) Make it free for anyone and everyone. 3) Make the whole archive available for a low monthly fee (very low). 4) Make a very strong multi-media division – Washington Post has done a great job with that. 5) Bring the blogs up on front and don’t make it a ‘free’ feature as if you look down on it 6) if your podcast is on iTunes, why not promote it more? 7) Make it free! 8) Make it free! 9) Widgets! 10) College Journal sucks – you make it seem like college’s don’t deserve a great section in your paper. In case you missed – read one of the previous paragraphs to understand what you miss when you overlook colleges.

In short, here’s where I think you’ll hit jackpot – 11) More blogs! Bring it up front and make your college section the place to find new talent. Open it up for school and college students to blog about the media or business world their own way. I’ll bet you you will find your future stars there. You may sneer at social networking now, but can you name one social networking site that brings all the business students together? Let me be more specific.

You can do all of that and never have to raise the print version’s price. In fact, your website will be so successful, you can come out and say “We love you, readers, the price for WSJ is now just $.75 – and if you subscribe now, free access to all our archives going all the way back to the coverage of ‘Adam Rethinks Apple from Tree. Eve’s Portfolio Not Looking Good. God Smiles.’ People who’ve never bought a paper in their life will pay to subscribe. Remember when you offered the paper for free to promote the new shaved-off column? Heck I made sure I was at the Port Authority bus terminal early that day. I saw people going right past the AM and Metro guys and picking up the WSJ.

Imagine a future, perhaps just a few months down the line. A business class begins at a College in Sylhet, Bangladesh. The professor opens her laptop and so does her 30+ students – no large backpacks, no pens, no pencils, and no notebooks (paper) in sight. She begins by saying, “Okay – as usual, we’ll spend the first 10 minutes going over WSJ stories of the day and your assigned group will bookmark 3 stories. Discuss among yourselves first and we’ll discuss it with other groups later. You will present your cases, referring to the stories, finding related research items, cases, and charts. I’ll give each group 10 minutes to present it…in a blog form on our screen. Before you leave, I’ll have selected presentations uploaded on the WSJ site.”

Mm mm mm…business education in a new world. WSJ, you wouldn’t want MySpace to replace your name in the previous paragraph, would you?

Oops, maybe too late for that!




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