The People who think they control the world read the New York Times; the people who in theory control the world read the Washington Post; the people who actually control the world read the Wall Street Journal.
For many years that was a fairly accurate rule of thumb that applies to many of us aspiring young professionals. But if I was one of those controllers, I’d rather read the Financial Times, Forbes, and The Economist over the Wall Street Journal.
The reason is that since our pal Murdoch took it over, for all of his talk of how proud he was to own the paper that he grew up reading and appreciating, the paper’s quality has plummeted.
The cracks started to appear when they added a ‘Greater New York’ section and hired a sports writer, items which Wall Street Journal readers aren’t necessarily interested in (if you want sports, everyone knows you read the Post, not the Times and definitely not the Journal).
Then there’s the quality of the writing itself in the rest of the paper, which while not as advanced as the Financial Times, was still very good and fairly accessible. Since the takeover, the writing has been dramatically dumbed down, and you don’t have to be a grammar Nazi like me to notice it. Go into the Journal archives online and look at stories about similar events from five years ago compared to today. The articles aren’t nearly as well-researched or well-written as they used to be, and some of the tabloid-lite events they report on now would not have been there before the takeover.
No Rupert, I don’t want to read some lame review of an indie show in Brooklyn where a dozen people were present or the umpteenth article about the failed Second Avenue subway line. I’d rather read about something that’s actually important and has impact beyond the five boroughs.
Even the editorial page has gone south. Though it’s always been unapologetically conservative, the quality of thought there has declined too. It’s become blind, partisan left-wing-bashing. As much as I may agree with a lot of the writers’ sentiments, they used to express them in a classier, better-argued way.
Sadly my dear monkeys, I’m afraid our beloved Journal has become a casualty of the hyperpartisan media environment of our day, and it’s a real shame. Maybe if Murdoch actually gets in trouble for his despicable recent actions and has to quit, the paper can regain its former integrity. Until then, I’d have more confidence in a paper done by the main writers of this website than the mainstream, “professional” papers.
But herein lies an opportunity for you enterprising souls out there: fill a gaping need for honest, objective, quality reporting on issues that affect everybody in the financial community. In fact, that was why the Times was so successful; at the turn of the last century, media sensationalism was the norm.
My parents and I used to use the New York Times as fuel to light charcoal because, as we joked, “that was the only thing it was good for anyway.” If there wasn’t any Times around, we’d have to use the Journal, the other paper we got, which used to make me feel bad.
Of course, all of that is just my opinion; I could be wrong. Am I?