February 18, 2009

The ABC’s of the WSJ

WallStreetJournalIt has been said that the simple things that can make you or break you.
In most sports, the simple things include keeping your eye on the ball.
In business, it is making sure you bring in more money than you spend.
For news media, its making sure you get the name spelled and identified correctly.
Before, I finish this short blog post about the simple things, I need to share with you a little bit about my daily routine.
One of the simple pleasures I enjoy each morning consists of a fresh cup of coffee and reading both the Albuquerque Journal and Wall Street Journal. I typically open both papers up and stack one on top of the other.
I enjoy the coffee, read the news and get ready for the day.
There is a problem with the very linear routine. My Wall Street Journal almost always arrives out of order. I am not kidding.
The sections should go A-Page One, B-Marketplace, C- Money & Investing, D-Personal Journal. The publisher reinforces this approach on its website “How to Read The Wall Street Journal”. I think there is something about the alphabet that is a challenge to those who gather and fold the daily press together because in this WSJ world, the one delivered to my driveway every morning, “C” comes before “B”.
So, back to the simple things.
In this economy where newspaper publishers are more vulnerable than the Big Three automakers, one would think there should be an emphasis on the “simple” things, like delivering the Wall Street Journal so that “A” comes before “B” which comes before “C” and finishes with “D”. 
Maybe the publisher should develop a special website to show its printer “How To Compile The Wall Street Journal”

1 Comment

  • Tom: You’re so right about the WSJ and the order of its published, delivered sections. It’s really vexing. I’ve also noted a marked increase in the number of typographical errors and printed misfires in the paper over the past couple of years.

    My favorite WSJ mistake in quite some time was pointed out to me by our daughter in this past Monday’s paper, 3/1/10. The World News page (pg. A10) featured a graphic layout above the fold with a chart and two photos. One of the photos is a fetching picture of some trees and a small sliver of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right ear. This was described in the accompanying caption as a picture of Ms. Merkel being interviewed on television..

    It looks like maybe a larger photo of Chancellor Merkel (that did feature her face) had been cropped to fit the layout. Somehow, the cropped/supposed-to-be-discarded portion of the shot was the whole image that survived in our final home edition.

    I’m guessing that at least two humans had to size, place and approve that picture’s spot on the page, and it’s really hard for me to imagine how those folks could have completely missed what was IN the picture. Auch du lieber, News Corp!

    I’m completely with you. Given that the WSJ and much of the print media are under marked fiscal distress in the newer realm of digital news, one could reasonably expect the paper to press hard on quality control in order to further distinguish the brand and protect their price point. Somehow that’s not happening, and as you’ve said, it’s the simple things.

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