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The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal Logo.svg
Wall Street Journal 28April2008.jpg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Dow Jones & Company (owned by News Corporation)
Publisher Les Hinton
Editor Robert Thomson
Founded July 8, 1889
Language English
Headquarters 1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Circulation 2,082,189[1]
ISSN 0099-9660
Official website

The Wall Street Journal is an English-language international daily newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, in New York City, with Asian and European editions.

The Journal has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it has a circulation of 2.1 million copies (including 400,000 online paid subscriptions) as of October 2009[2] compared to USA Today's 1.9 million. Its main rival in the business newspaper sector is the London-based Financial Times, which also publishes several international editions.

The Journal primarily covers U.S. and international business, and financial news and issues. Its name derives from Wall Street in New York City, the heart of the financial district, and has been printed continuously since its inception on July 8, 1889, by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser. The newspaper version has won the Pulitzer Prize thirty-three times,[3] including 2007 prizes for its reporting on backdated stock options and the adverse effects of China's booming economy.[4][5]





Dow Jones & Company, publisher of the Journal, was founded in 1882 by reporters Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Jones converted the small Customers' Afternoon Letter into the Wall Street Journal, first published in 1889,[6] and began delivery of the Dow Jones News Service via telegraph. The Journal featured the Jones 'Average', the first of several indexes of stock and bond prices on the New York Stock Exchange.

Journalist Clarence Barron purchased control of the company for US$130,000 in 1902; circulation was then around 7,000 but climbed to 50,000 by the end of the 1920s. Barron and his predecessors were credited with creating an atmosphere of fearless, independent financial reporting—a novelty in the early days of business journalism.[7]

Barron died in 1928, a year before Black Tuesday, the stock market crash that greatly effected the Great Depression in the United States. Barron's descendants, the Bancroft family, would continue to control the company until 2007.[7]

The Journal took its modern shape and prominence in the 1940s, a time of industrial expansion for the United States and its financial institutions in New York. Bernard Kilgore was named managing editor of the paper in 1941, and company CEO in 1945, eventually compiling a 25-year career as the head of the Journal. Kilgore was the architect of the paper's iconic front-page design, with its "What's News" digest, and its national distribution strategy, which brought the paper's circulation from 33,000 in 1941 to 1.1 million at the time of Kilgore's death in 1967. It was also on Kilgore's watch, in 1947, that the paper won its first Pulitzer Prize, for editorial writing.[7]

The Wall Street Journal nevertheless fell on uncertain times in the 1990s, as declining advertising and rising newsprint costs—contributing to the first-ever annual loss at Dow Jones in 1997—raised speculation that the paper might have to drastically change, or be sold.[8] It is commonly held to be the largest paid-subscription news site on the Web, with 980,000 paid subscribers in mid-2007.[7] As of May 2008, an annual subscription to the online edition of the Wall Street Journal cost $119 for those who do not have subscriptions to the print edition.[9]

Vladimir Putin with Journal correspondent Karen Elliott House in 2002.

On November 30, 2004 Oasys Mobile and the Wall Street Journal released an application that would allow users to access content from the Wall Street Journal Online via their mobile phone. It "will provide up-to-the-minute business and financial news from the Online Journal, along with comprehensive market, stock and commodities data, plus personalized portfolio information--directly to a cell phone."[10]

The paper's paid content is available free, on a limited basis, to America Online subscribers,[11] and through the free Congoo Netpass.[12] Many Wall Street Journal news stories are available through free online newspapers that subscribe to the Dow Jones syndicate. Pulitzer-prize winning stories from 1995 are available free on the Pulitzer web site.

In September 2005, the Journal launched a weekend edition, delivered to all subscribers, which marked a return to Saturday publication after a lapse of some 50 years. The move was designed in part to attract more consumer advertising.[7]

In 2005 the Journal reported a readership profile of about 60 percent top management, an average income of $191,000, an average household net worth of $2.1 million, and an average age of 55.[13]

In 2007 the Journal launched a worldwide expansion of its website, to include major foreign-language editions. The paper had also shown an interest in buying the rival Financial Times.[14]

Website content is available, like the print edition, to paid subscribers.

Design changes

In 2006, the Journal began including advertising on its front page for the first time. This followed the introduction of front-page advertising on the Journal's European and Asian editions in late 2005.[15]

After presenting nearly identical front-page layouts for half a century—always six columns, with the day's top stories in the first and sixth columns, "What's News" digest in the second and third, the "A-hed" feature story in the fourth and themed weekly reports in the fifth column[16] -- the paper in 2007 decreased its broadsheet width from 15 to 12 inches while keeping the length at 22 3/4 inches, in order to save newsprint costs. News design consultant Mario Garcia collaborated on the changes. Dow Jones said it would save US$18 million a year in newsprint costs across all the Wall Street Journal papers.[17] This move resulted in the loss of one column of print, pushing the "A-hed" out of its traditional location (although the paper now usually includes a quirky feature story on the right side of the front page, sandwiched among the lead stories).

The paper still uses ink dot drawings called hedcuts, introduced in 1979,[18] rather than photographs of people, a practice unique among major newspapers and a method of illustration considered to be a consistent visual signature of the paper. The Journal still heavily employs the use of caricatures, notably those of Ken Fallin, such as when Peggy Noonan memorialized recently-deceased newsman Tim Russert.[19][20] Nevertheless, the use of color photographs and graphics has become increasingly common in recent years with the addition of more "lifestyle" sections.

News Corp. purchase

On May 2, 2007, News Corp. made an unsolicited takeover bid for Dow Jones, offering US$60 a share for stock that had been selling for US$33 a share. The Bancroft family, which controlled more than 60% of the voting stock, at first rejected the offer, but later reconsidered its position.

Three months later, on August 1, 2007, News Corp. and Dow Jones entered into a definitive merger agreement.[21] The controversial US$5 billion sale added the Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch's news empire, which already included Fox News Channel, financial network unit and London's The Times, and locally within New York, New York Post, along with Fox flagship station WNYW (Channel 5) and MyNetworkTV flagship WWOR (Channel 9).[22]

On December 13, 2007, shareholders representing more than 60 percent of Dow Jones's voting stock approved the company's acquisition by News Corp.[23]

In an editorial page column, publisher L. Gordon Crovitz said the Bancrofts and News Corp. had agreed that the Journal's news and opinion sections would preserve their editorial independence from their new corporate parent:[24]

Mr. Murdoch told the Bancrofts that 'any interference -- or even hint of interference -- would break the trust that exists between the paper and its readers, something I am unwilling to countenance.' ... Mr. Murdoch and the Bancrofts agreed on standards modeled on the longstanding Dow Jones Code of Conduct.

A special committee was established to oversee The Journal's editorial integrity. But after the managing editor, Marcus Brauchli resigned on April 22, 2008, the committee said that he resigned under pressure, and that News Corporation had violated its agreement by not notifying the committee earlier.[25] Brauchli said that he thought it was reasonable that new owners would appoint their own editor.

However, a June 5 Journal news story quoted charges that Murdoch had made and broken similar promises in the past. One large shareholder commented that Murdoch has long "expressed his personal, political and business biases through his newspapers and television stations." Journalist Fred Emery, formerly of the British newspaper The Times, recounted an incident when Murdoch was reminded of his own earlier promises not to fire The Times' editors without independent directors' approval and allegedly responded, "God, you don't take all that seriously, do you?"[26]


Since 1980, the Journal has published in several sections. On average, The Journal is about 96 pages long. For the year 2007, the inclusion of 44 additional Journal Reports (special sections focusing on a single issue each) was planned. Regularly scheduled sections are:

  • Section One – every day; corporate news, as well as political and economic reporting and the opinion pages
  • Marketplace – Monday through Friday; coverage of health, technology, media, and marketing industries (the second section was launched June 23, 1980)
  • Money and Investing – every day; covers and analyzes international financial markets (the third section was launched October 3, 1988)
  • Personal Journal – published Tuesday through Thursday; covers personal investments, careers and cultural pursuits (the section was introduced April 9, 2002)
  • Weekend Journal – published Fridays; explores personal interests of business readers, including real estate, travel, and sports (the section was introduced March 20, 1998)
  • Pursuits – formerly published Saturdays; section was originally introduced September 17, 2005 with the debut of the paper's Weekend Edition; focused on readers' lifestyle and leisure, including food and drink, restaurant and cooking trends, entertainment and culture, books, fashion, shopping, travel, sports, recreation, and the home. The Pursuits section was renamed Weekend Journal beginning with the September 15, 2007 publication.

In addition, several columnists contribute regular features to the Journal opinion page and


Editorial page



Two summaries published in 1995 by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and in 1996 by the Columbia Journalism Review.[27] criticized the editorial page of the Journal for inaccuracy during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Journal won its first two Pulitzer Prizes for editorial writing in 1947 and 1953.

The Journal describes the history of its editorials:

They are united by the mantra "free markets and free people", the principles, if you will, marked in the watershed year of 1776 by Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. So over the past century and into the next, the Journal stands for free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities. If these principles sound unexceptionable in theory, applying them to current issues is often unfashionable and controversial.

Its historical position was much the same, and spelled out the conservative foundation of its editorial page:

On our editorial page, we make no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view. We believe in the individual, his wisdom and his decency. We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether they stem from attempts at private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government. People will say we are conservative or even reactionary. We are not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical. Just as radical as the Christian doctrine. (William H. Grimes, 1951)

Every Thanksgiving the editorial page prints two famous articles that have appeared there since 1961. The first is titled "The Desolate Wilderness" and describes what the Pilgrims saw when they arrived at the Plymouth Colony. The second is titled "And the Fair Land" and describes in romantic terms the "bounty" of America. It was penned by a former editor Vermont C. Royster, whose Christmas article "In Hoc Anno Domini", has appeared every December 25 since 1949.

Economic issues

During the Reagan administration, the newspaper's editorial page was particularly influential as the leading voice for supply-side economics. Under the editorship of Robert Bartley, it expounded at length on such economic concepts such as the Laffer curve and how a decrease in certain marginal tax rates and the capital gains tax can increase overall tax revenue by generating more economic activity.

In the economic argument of exchange rate regimes (one of the most divisive issues among economists), the Journal has a tendency to support fixed exchange rates over floating exchange rates in spite of its support for the free market in other respects. For example, the Journal was a major supporter of the Chinese yuan's peg to the dollar, and strongly disagreed with American politicians who were criticizing the Chinese government about the peg. It opposed the moves by China to let the yuan gradually float, arguing that the fixed rate benefited both the United States and China.

The Journal's views can be compared with those of the British magazine The Economist with its emphasis on free markets[citation needed]. However, the Journal demonstrates important distinctions from European business newspapers, most particularly with regard to the relative significance of, and causes of, the American budget deficit. (The Journal generally points to the lack of foreign growth, while business journals in Europe and Asia blame the low savings rate and concordant high borrowing rate in the United States).

Political issues

The editorial board has long argued for a less restrictive immigration policy. In a July 3, 1984 editorial, the board wrote: If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.' This stand on immigration reform has placed the Journal as an opponent of most conservative activists and politicians, for example National Review, who favor heightened restrictions on immigration.[28]

The Journal in recent years has strongly defended Lewis Libby, whom it portrays as the victim of a political witchhunt.[29] It has also published editorials comparing the attacks by Seymour Hersh, and The New York Times on Leo Strauss and his alleged influence in the George W. Bush administration with those of Lyndon LaRouche, a fringe conspiracy theorist and perennial presidential candidate.[30]

Some former Wall Street Journal reporters have said that since Rupert Murdoch bought the paper, news stories have been edited to adopt a more conservative tone, critical of Democrats.[31] The editorial page routinely publishes articles by scientists skeptical of the theory of global warming, including several influential essays by Richard Lindzen of MIT.

News and opinion

The Journal's editors stress the independence and impartiality of their reporters[24]. "A Measure of Media Bias", a December 2004 study conducted by Tim Groseclose of the University of California, Los Angeles and Jeff Milyo of the University of Missouri, stated that:

One surprise is the Wall Street Journal, which we find as the most liberal of all 20 news outlets [studied]. We should first remind readers that this estimate (as well as all other newspaper estimates) refers only to the news of the Wall Street Journal; we omitted all data that came from its editorial page. If we included data from the editorial page, surely it would appear more conservative. Second, some anecdotal evidence agrees with our result. For instance, Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid (2001) note that "The Journal has had a long-standing separation between its conservative editorial pages and its liberal news pages." Paul Sperry, in an article titled the "Myth of the Conservative Wall Street Journal", notes that the news division of the Journal sometimes calls the editorial division "Nazis." "Fact is", Sperry writes, "the Journal's news and editorial departments are as politically polarized."[32]

The methods used to calculate this bias have been challenged by Mark Liberman, professor of computer science and the director of Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania.[33] Liberman says "that many if not most of the complaints directed against G&M are motivated in part by ideological disagreement -- just as much of the praise for their work is motivated by ideological agreement. It would be nice if there were a less politically fraught body of data on which such modeling exercises could be explored."[34]

The company's planned and eventual acquisition by News Corp. in 2007 led to significant media criticism and discussion[35] about whether the news pages would exhibit a rightward slant under Rupert Murdoch. An August 1 editorial responded to the questions by asserting that Murdoch intended to "maintain the values and integrity of the Journal."[36]

Notable reporting

The Journal has had several series of articles which have gone on to have significant impact. They have won many Pulitzer prizes. Many of these have been transformed into books.

1987: RJR Nabisco buyout

In 1987, a bidding war ensued between several financial firms for tobacco and food giant RJR Nabisco. Bryan Burrough and John Helyar documented the events in several Journal articles. Burrough and Helyar later used these articles as the basis of a bestselling book, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, which was turned into a film for HBO.[37]

1988: Insider trading

In the 1980s, Journal reporter James B. Stewart brought national attention to the illegal practice of insider trading. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism in 1988, which he shared with Daniel Hertzberg,[38] who now serves as the paper's senior deputy managing editor. Stewart expanded on this theme in his book, Den of Thieves.

1997: AIDS treatment

David Sanford, a Page One features editor who was infected with HIV in 1982 in a bathhouse from "a man whose name I didn't catch," wrote a front-page personal account of how, with the assistance of improved treatments for HIV, he went from planning his death to planning his retirement.[39] He and other reporters wrote about the new treatments, political and economic issues, and won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting about AIDS.[40]

2000: Enron

Jonathan Weil, a reporter at the Dallas bureau of the Wall Street Journal, is credited with first breaking the story of financial abuses at Enron in July 2000,[41] although Weil himself disavows credit[42] Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller reported on the story regularly,[43] and wrote a book, 24 Days.

2001: 9/11

The Wall Street Journal claims to have sent the first news report, on the Dow Jones wire, of a plane colliding into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.[44] Its headquarters, at One World Financial Center, was severely damaged by the collapse of the World Trade Center just across the street. [45] Top editors worried that they might miss publishing the first issue for the first time in in the paper's 112-year history. They relocated to a makeshift office at an editor's home, while sending most of the staff to Dow Jones's South Brunswick, N.J., corporate campus, where the paper had established emergency editorial facilities soon after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The paper was on the stands the next day, albeit in scaled-down form. Perhaps the most compelling story in that day's edition was a first-hand account of the Twin Towers' collapse written by then-Foreign Editor (and current Washington bureau chief) John Bussey[45], who holed up in a ninth-floor Journal office, literally in the shadow of the towers, from where he phoned in live reports to CNBC as the towers burned. He narrowly escaped serious injury when the first tower collapsed, shattering all the windows in the Journal's offices and filling them with dust and debris. The Journal won a 2002 Pulitzer prize in Breaking News Reporting for that day's stories.[46]

The Journal subsequently conducted a worldwide investigation of the causes and significance of 9/11, using contacts it had developed during its business coverage of the Arab world. In Kabul, Afghanistan, a Wall Street Journal reporter bought a pair of looted computers which had been used by leaders of Al Qaeda to plan assassinations, chemical and biological attacks, and mundane daily activities. The encrypted files were decrypted and translated.[47] It was during this coverage that Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and killed by terrorists.

In 2007 the paper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, considered the most prestigious of the newspaper Pulitzers, for its exposure of companies that illegally backdate the stock options they award executives in order to increase their value.

2008: Bear Stearn Fall

Kate Kelly's three-part series detailing the events that lead up to the complete collapse of the epic Bear Stearns.

WSJ Europe Future Leadership Institute

The Wall Street Journal Europe Future Leadership Institute (WSJE FLI) is a pan-European program initially developed by The Wall Street Journal Europe in cooperation with business schools and universities across the continent. The Journal Europe sees this partnership as an accelerator in developing its offer to its readership and current and future leaders in close collaboration with corporations, universities and business schools. The Wall Street Journal Europe Future Leadership Institute was created by VIP Program Manager Gert Van Mol in December 2007.

The Journal Europe Future Leadership Institute is a virtual institute aiming to bring together university and industry. The Institute organizes seminars, joint seminars and networking tables in addition to the daily delivery of ca 12,000 newspaper copies to 165 universities and business schools across Europe.

See also


  1. ^ "New FAS-FAX: Circulation declines are getting steeper". The Washington Times. 2009-04-28. 
  2. ^ Newspaper circulation drops 10%
  3. ^ Wall Street Journal Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  4. ^ "2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners - Public Service". Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  5. ^ "2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners - International Reporting". Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  6. ^ Dow Jones & Co. Inc. "Dow Jones History - The Late 1800s". Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  7. ^ a b c d e Crossen, Cynthia. "It All Began in the Basement of a Candy Store". The Wall Street Journal (New York), page B1, August 1, 2007.
  8. ^ The"Wall Street Journal Announces New Integrated Print and Online Sales and Marketing Initiatives". Press release. November 3, 2003.
  9. ^ Subscribing to the Wall Street Journal,
  10. ^ Oasys Mobile, Inc. :: News Release
  11. ^ The Wall Street Journal Now Offering Limited Content via AOL Instant Messenger
  12. ^ Congoo News Circles Adds the Glue
  13. ^ Mitchell, Bill. "The Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition: Expectations, Surprises, Disappointments". Poynter Online, September 21, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  14. ^ Wray, Richard (2007-02-01). "How the word on Wall Street will spread around the world". The Guardian.,,2003063,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  15. ^ "Wall Street Journal Introduces New Front Page Advertising Opportunity". Press release, July 18, 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  16. ^ Guided Tour: Page One, accessed August 30, 2007.
  17. ^ Ahrens, Frank. "Wall Street Journal To Narrow Its Pages". Washington Post, October 12, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  18. ^ "Picturing Business in America". Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  19. ^ Tim Russert WSJ drawing
  20. ^ Caricaturist Captures the Corporate Market, Biz Bash Orlando, August 11, 2008.
  21. ^ "Murdoch wins Control of Dow Jones". BBC. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  22. ^ "Murdoch clinches deal for publisher of Journal". MSNBC. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2007-08-09. 
  23. ^ News Corp Dow Jones Deal Done -
  24. ^ a b Crovitz, L. Gordon. "A Report to Our Readers". The Wall Street Journal (New York), page A14, August 1, 2007.
  25. ^ Steve Stecklow (2008-04-30). "WSJ Editor's Resignation Is Criticized By Committee". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  26. ^ WSJ, Calling the shots: In Murdoch's career, a hand in the news; his aggressive style can blur boundaries; 'Buck stops with me', by Steve Stecklow, Aaron O. Patrick, Martin Peers, and Andrew Higgins, Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007.
  27. ^ Naureckas, Jim; Rendall, Steve (September/October 1995). "20 Reasons Not to Trust the Journal Editorial Page". Extra!. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Lieberman, Trudy (July/August 1996). "Bartley's Believe It Or Not!". Columbia Journalism Review. 
  28. ^ The editorial page commonly publishes pieces by U.S. and world leaders in academia, business, government and politics.
  29. ^ ""The Libby Injustice". Editorial, The Wall Street Journal (New York), January 20, 2007.
  30. ^ Bartley, Robert. "Joining LaRouche in the Fever Swamps". TheWall Street Journal (New York), June 9, 2003.
  31. ^ The Media Equation: Under Murdoch, Tilting Rightward at The Journal, By DAVID CARR, New York Times, December 13, 2009
  32. ^ Groseclose, Tim, and Jeff Milyo. "A Measure of Media Bias". December 2004. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  33. ^ Liberman, Mark (2005-12-22). "Linguistics, Politics, Mathematics". Language Log. Retrieved 2006-11-06. 
  34. ^ Lieberman, Mark (2005-12-23). "Multiplying ideologies considered harmful". Language Log. Retrieved 2006-11-06. 
  35. ^ Shafer, Jack (2007-05-07). "The Murdoch Street Journal". Slate. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  36. ^ "A New Owner". Wall Street Journal. 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  37. ^ Barbarians at the Gate at the Internet Movie Database
  38. ^ 1988 Pulitzer Prize Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  39. ^ Sanford, David. "Back to the Future: One Man's AIDS Tale Shows How Quickly Epidemic Has Turned". The Wall Street Journal (New York), November 8, 1997.
  40. ^ Pulitzer Prize Winners: 1997 - National Reporting, retrieved August 8, 2007.
  41. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm. "Open Secrets". The New Yorker, January 8, 2007.
  42. ^ Sung, Ellen W. "The Enron Collapse: Enron and the Media." Poynter Institute, March 8, 2002.
  43. ^ Enron CFO's Partnership Had Millions in Profit, the Wall Street Journal (New York), October 19, 2001. Retrieved August 19, 2006. (PDF)
  44. ^ Raymond Snoddy on Media: Logic says WSJ is safe with Murdoch
  45. ^ a b Bussey, John. "The Eye of the Storm: One Journey Through Desperation and Chaos". The Wall Street Journal, page A1, September 12, 2001. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  46. ^ Pulitzer Prize Winners: 2002 - Breaking News, retrieved August 8, 2007.
  47. ^ Cullison, Alan, and Andrew Higgins. "Forgotten Computer Reveals Thinking Behind Four Years of Al Qaeda Doings". The Wall Street Journal (New York), December 31, 2001.

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