Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wall Street Journal Launches New York Section

By Stefen Lovelace

We have an official newspaper war.

On Monday, print heavyweight The Wall Street Journal unveiled its new “Greater New York” section. The section is being seen as a direct competitor to The New York Times, which has been New York’s top publication for local and regional news for years.

Taking over the grand ballroom of The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, the Journal feted dozens of guests with a breakfast of bagels, quiche, coffee, Danish and other goodies. Large screens in the room promoted the new section's name, while top guns Les Hinton, CEO; Robert Thomson, managing editor; and Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer, headlined the event.

Each spoke out about why this venture, which many analysts and newspaper experts have said is financially limited, will succeed.

"This is good news for New York and good business for Dow Jones," Hinton told the crowd, adding that, in terms of advertising, "We didn't expect it to be as good as it has been."

This move shows that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which purchased the Journal in 2007, believes he can take down one of print’s most well-respected institutions.

There's a reason for his confidence. Earlier this week it was revealed that overall newspaper circulation has continued to declined, down 8.7 percent in a six month period ending March 31, 2010. That news in itself isn't all that surprising.

What is surprising is that The Wall Street Journal is the only one of the top 25 newspapers to rise in total circulation, going up by a very slight 0.5 percent. WSJ is also the No. 1 biggest daily newspaper in the country.

It’s too early to tell what type of effect the Journal’s jump into the New York news scene will have in the city. There have already been some that have ranked and compared the Journal against the Times, with reviews on WSJ's new section being mixed.

NYT hasn’t sat on its hands in this fight, as it’s now being reported that the newspaper is considering expanding its news coverage to include non-New York markets.

The Financial Times is reporting that the NYT has entered discussions to expand to provide regional coverage in five areas of the U.S. Eventually, the paper wants to provide local news for 10 to 15 markets, the FT reports.

It's possible that the paper's enhanced regional coverage is a response to the Journal and fellow News Corp. paper The New York Post's aggressive slashing of ad rates, a move widely perceived as an effort to eat into the Times' ad-client base.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, as the Times and WSJ are two of the largest and most reputable publications in the country. Stay tuned.

Stefen Lovelace is an Associate Account Executive. Contact him at

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