Home is where the growth is: WSJ’s Thomson

December 4, 2008

Global strategy aside, Dow Jones Editor-in-Chief Robert Thomson sees a growth opportunity right here on his home turf. With regional U.S. papers laying off staff and scaling back business coverage, Thomson sees a “real opportunity for another paper to come in.”

And yes, that would be The Wall Street Journal. “What we’re noticing in markets like Chicago, LA and Miami… big city markets with papers that are changing, there are real opportunities to bring new readers to print as well as online,” Thomson said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

We asked him how exactly the WSJ hopes to wean readers — the intelligent, educated consumer of business news that Thomson said there’s an abundance of right now in the United States – away from other dailies, but the former Times of London editor offered no more details. “We’re planning,” is all he would say.

“Those papers have been particularly hard hit by declines in classified advertising,” Thomson said. Also, many of these city dailies were slow to adapt to the changes in the information environment and are suffering from serious revenue and circulation declines for a host of reasons, he said. ”There’s an opportunity there.”

So would Dow Jones, which Rupert Murdoch bought last year, be interested in buying a regional rival? “That’s a very enticing proposition but not one we’re thinking about… We’re not planning to buy any papers, but if you ask me, newspapers have been ridiculously oversold.”

He said community newspapers that have a strong web presence and a complementary print presence will do well, although no one’s a close-enough competitor to the Journal. Not even the New York Times.

“We’re twice as big as the New York Times,” Thomson said.  “We’re getting larger and they’re getting smaller.  If there’s a competition, only one person is winning.”

4 comments

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[...] more here. Posted by Chris Roush [...]

Yes reductions in staff can result in an improved bottom line — and when the editor is fired the result is goofy titles like this. Should not the title have been “Home is where the growth IS?”

Posted by PunchPrincess | Report as abusive

Why do you simply publish Thomson’s words without any sort of analysis or context? This essentially lets him brag unchecked – is the WSJ really twice as big as NYT? How – in circulation? news staff? ad pages? I’d really like to know. I’d also argue that given the dumbed-down way WSJ is going these days, USA Today is a viable competitor and covers national affairs, entertainment and sports a heck of a lot better. Just because this is a blog doesn’t mean you can’t fact-check what executives say.

Posted by Ronald | Report as abusive

For the record:
The New York Times has more reporters and editors, last I checked.
In circulation, the Journal appears to be ahead of the times at last count, but the numbers aren’t always comparable. Twice as big? No.
Ad pages? Haven’t counted lately.
Thomson’s quote is a boast, to be sure. On the other hand, the NYT declined our invitation to attend and make its own boasts. Maybe next time?

Tough crowd, PunchPrincess. We corrected.
- MacMillan

Posted by Robert MacMillan | Report as abusive