In the news
The Wall Street Journal is discussing major changes to its brand in the coming months. Rupert Murdoch is planning a physical move for the paper to his midtown News Corp. offices and expressed a desire to expand the paper's non-business reporting, according to The New York Times.
The Times reports that in recent years, with the addition of ads aimed at consumers, the Journal has expanded its lifestyle and consumer reporting. Now, Murdoch says he wants to expand coverage in areas such as politics and entertainment, while embracing an editorial style that's easier to read. He also discussed adding a sports section in the next few months and has already tapped high-end glossy connoisseur Tina Gaudoin to head up
a luxury lifestyle magazine slated for a September launch.
"It's a move that's not surprising, as we've seen the gap between Wall Street and Main Street continue to shrink," says Billee Howard, EVP and MD at Weber Shandwick's global strategic media group.
Why does it matter?
While Murdoch's moves may not affect which clients PR pros choose to pitch to the Journal, the transition does necessitate that practitioners craft and communicate a message around a brand that speaks not only to investors, but consumers.
"Media relations need to be much more viewed through a holistic lens," notes Howard, explaining that all communications are now integrated. "Consumer PR used to be... only about the product. Now, you're not just focusing on the product, but who the company is [that's] launching the product... A more generic type of media outlet needs to be available for the public."
She cites a number of outlets that now offer the opportunity for such an integrated approach, including Portfolio and MainStreet.com.
"The move of the Journal... is emblematic of a chip in the media marketplace," says Howard.
1. This week, TheStreet.com will launch MainStreet.com, an extension of its financial reporting into coverage of general interest issues for the average person.
2. On July 8, 1889, the four-page "Customers' Afternoon Letter" became The Wall Street Journal. First copies sold for two cents; advertising was 20 cents a line.
3. Last January, The Wall Street Journal redesigned its pages, presenting a format that's easier both to read and to navigate.
4. BusinessWeek announced a redesign in October 2007, not only to increase its news and global coverage, but to adapt to a multimedia landscape and ease navigation.
5. The Journal this week is adding a Facebook feature to its Web site called "SeenThis?" It will show which stories are most popular among Facebook users' friends.