Finlay ON Governance made it into the WSJ’s online edition yesterday in connection with our post below about Goldman Sachs –or at least the flattering portrayal of that institution by The New York Times. The Rupert Murdoch effect is already showing. I was quoted in the New York Post a few days ago too.
I often find online reporters and commentators tend to be a little more clever and quicker to notice something than their print counterparts. Certainly, their headline writing abilities are better –and they usually get to write them themselves –unlike the print side of the business. I seemed to have an almost unbroken record of having the lamest headline writers for my print op-ed columns over the years, despite the fact that I used to spend a lot of time coming up with what I thought was just the right short mix of attention grabbing and informative words. No, each time some anonymous copy editor would rewrite the headline and turn it into something I would have to make sure even my mother would never see, lest she think my writing skills had taken a sudden plunge into the pool of the banal. The headline written by MarketBeat columnist David Gaffen for the story above, is, well, pure gold.
There is a rumor that the Journal’s online edition, one of the best features of its kind on the Internet hands down, may become free. I’ve been a subscriber since the beginning. It would be nice to see it opened up to everyone in the same way The Times stopped that silly extra charge to read its columnists. The 21st century economic model for the Internet has its origins in a ground-breaking invention of the early 20th century: the radio. Then, the model was to maximize the audience size with interesting content and make the money with advertising. The subscription-based Wall Street Journal online edition, by the way, currently contains advertising of both the traditional static and flash motion varieties. A free online Journal could tie its content in with all kinds of existing sites and create a Google-like omnipresence of a respected news brand that would no doubt pay off handsomely in advertising dollars.
Mr. Murdoch seems to be more aware of the benefits of this economic model than a lot of the old guard executives at the paper who are half his age. I have a suspicion he is leaning toward freeing up access to the WSJ online. I also have a suspicion that if that is what he wants, that’s what’s going to happen.