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Summary:

While parent News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) expands the staff on its stealth tablet effort, Robert Thomson is setting up some kind of skunkworks at t…

Robert Thomson, WSJ woodcut

While parent News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) expands the staff on its stealth tablet effort, Robert Thomson is setting up some kind of skunkworks at the Wall Street Journal. Thompson announced the “WSJ/DJ Special Project” (emphasizing the caps) in a staff memo Tuesday afternoon along with the two editors who will lead it, calling it “crucial to our success as a company,” In the memo, posted by Romenesko, Thomson apologizes for being “necessarily vague” and promises more details at some nebulous time.

The project is led by Jim Pensiero, a Journal deputy managing editor who has been appointed editor-in-chief, and Gabriella Stern, a Dow Jones Newswire’s senior editor, as managing editor. Pensiero has a rep for managing major projects, including the company’s move to mid-Manhattan, the global implementation of a new publishing system, and a decade ago, Process Redesign. Stern most recently has been the senior Newswires’ editor on the News Hub, working with editors from both news ops.

One idea suggested by the choices: a project integrating the two into one news organization. But the way their titles are set up sounds more like a new product. My first two thoughts: a new edition picking up on the Journal’s previously strong business filter/focus or a new multi-platform, more general publication aimed at new readers just below the current subscribers — and designed to be national in the U.S. first, then global. It could be a new digital product, perhaps something aligned with News Corp’s own stealth project. But that’s just a little white boarding on my part.

Thomson promises to back the effort, whatever it is, with newsroom resources: “They will have a large and dedicated (in both senses of the word) editorial staff and will be tapping the combined reporting might of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires, which comprise the world

  1. “Journal’s previously strong business filter/focus…”

    Let’s just call a spade a spade. Instead of taking a logical step towards more in-depth business reporting, the WSJ focused instead on right-wing emotional “shock media” commentary and diluted their brand and credibility.

    This is their so-called “problem” because it is apparent the WSJ realized the right-wing angle is as shallow as a weekly tabloid and they lost their base.

    The moral of the story is this – don’t ever try to play the zero sum game theory unless you fully know and ready to deal with the ones who are near zero.

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