August 10, 2007
Free Wall Street Journal? A Sports Section?
Posted by Gordon Smith

As an academic subscriber to the W$J, I get both the paper version and the online version. I almost never read the paper, but I visit the online site many times a day. Now Rupert Murdoch is talking about bringing down the wall to the online Wall Street Journal. If he does that and FT follows suit, I could save myself a couple a hundred dollars per year.

Earlier this week,  Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten suggested on Marketplace that Murdoch might turn the W$J into a "general interest national newspaper" -- even adding a sports section -- in which case The New York Times "had better worry!" Oddly, this speculation followed an introduction in which he observed, "Rupert Murdoch has an almost unbroken line of failures with American newspapers."

Obviously, we don't know the big plan here, but Murdoch must know that he cannot alienate business readers, the core audience for the Journal. I agree with Rutten that the Journal may benefit tremendously from its new affiliation with companies that can provide video. That looks like the low-hanging fruit. Not a sports section.

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