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Does the Wall Street Journal Want to Get Woke and Go Broke?

Outside the New York Times building in Manhattan, August 3, 2020 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Edmund Lee of the New York Times reports that the Wall Street Journal is under employee pressure to become more like . . . the New York Times:

The Wall Street Journal is a rarity in 21st-century media: a newspaper that makes money. A lot of money. But at a time when the U.S. population is growing more racially diverse, older white men still make up the largest chunk of its readership, with retirees a close second. . . . Now a special innovation team and a group of nearly 300 newsroom employees are pushing for drastic changes at the paper, which has been part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire since 2007. They say The Journal, often Mr. Murdoch’s first read of the day, must move away from subjects of interest to established business leaders and widen its scope if it wants to succeed in the years to come. The Journal of the future, they say, must pay more attention to social media trends and cover racial disparities in health care, for example, as aggressively as it pursues corporate mergers.

It appears that the genesis of this is hiring someone from — wait for it — the New York Times:

[Editor Matt Murray, after taking over in 2018] assembled a strategy team focused on bringing in new digital subscribers. To oversee the group, Mr. Murray hired Louise Story, a journalist whose career included a decade at The New York Times. She was given a sweeping mandate, marking her as a potential future leader of the paper. She commands a staff of 150 as chief news strategist and chief product and technology officer. . . . In July, Mr. Murray received a draft from Ms. Story’s team, a 209-page blueprint. . . . The report argued that the paper should attract new readers — specifically, women, people of color and younger professionals — by focusing more on topics such as climate change and income inequality. Among its suggestions: “We also strongly recommend putting muscle behind efforts to feature more women and people of color in all of our stories.”

Imagine being in an industry in which nearly everybody is bleeding money and laying off staff, and you’re still highly profitable, and thinking, “Let’s be like everybody else!” What ever happened to diversity in the marketplace and trying to stand out by not sounding just like every other outlet in the media today?

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