The “new” Wall Street Journal debuted last week.
I’ve blogged before about this transition. I think it a mistake.
Rupert Murdoch, the WSJ owner responsible for the redesign, wanted the Journal to compete with the New York Times rather than focus on its “traditional, pin-striped base,” according to Johnnie L. Roberts, a reporter for Newsweek.
But many media and communication experts argue that the Journal will not be a threat to the Times even with all the changes; in fact, the changes may damage the Journal brand.
“Turning a paper into an old-fashioned variety show–we have a little of everything–I don’t think is the route to success,” said a former senior Dow Jones executive. “The risk you run is that you are not best at anything.”
Amen. I can’t say it any better.
I don’t think New York Times readers will switch horses; first, because the Journal will still be perceived as the financial paper, and second because few New York Times readers are disillusioned with their paper. Yes, there’s a liberal bias, but it’s still authentic, respected and habit-forming.
I don’t think the Journal’s new design and focus will hurt short term, but long term the paper will lose its focus, its position and its loyal constituency.
It’s a big gamble. From a branding standpoint, I still believe it a mistake of grand proportion.