The Wall Street Journal Online Review

If you’re a serious investor the chances are you’re a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal. Famous the world over for its market commentary and financial news, it’s more of an institution than a newspaper.

But since it was purchased by News Corp in 2007 they have been accused of dumbing down their content. The once mighty WSJ, once respected everywhere no longer seems to have the cache it once had.

But is there any truth to the rumors or is it just competitors jockeying for position? Well I’ve been a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal for over ten years now, so I’m well positioned to give you an unbiased view.

First of all I should point out that there are massive changes taking place in the newspaper industry. Paper has become a lot more expensive and the internet has made news available instantly for free, rendering newspapers both expensive and out of date more or less the second they’re printed.

But the fact remains that internet revenues alone are not enough to sustain an entire news room. In fact if the Wall Street Journal had to survive purely on internet revenue it would be a tenth of the size it is now and its editorial would suffer consequently.

The iPad may change all that in due course, ten years from now I doubt there’ll be a print edition of the WSJ, if there is I suspect it’ll be a very limited run for a few die hard traditionalists.

So the introduction of advertising to the front page and the decrease in page width from 15 to 12 inches is merely a reflection of the times and doesn’t bare any relation to the quality of editorial. I should also point out that both these changes took place before Rupert Murdoch got his hands on it.

But what about today, is it really still the same paper? Well it can’t be denied there have been some widespread editorial changes in the last few years, the highest profile being managing Editor Marcus Brauchli who claims he left because he felt the new owners should appoint their own Editor, nothing to do with being asked to alter the papers content.

But in recent years there has been a noticeable increase in articles criticizing democrats and supporting those that are skeptical about the importance of global warming.

wall-street-journalNone of this has anything to do with Rupert Murdoch of course, the fact that he’s a staunch republican and considers global warming to be more of a benefit than a hindrance, considering his old bones. Polar bears will be sat on ice cubes before you see News Corp acknowledge climate change.

But putting those matters aside you can’t ignore the fact that The Wall Street Journal still has massive reach and the stories it runs can have both a positive and negative effect on a companies share price.

So love it or hate it you can’t ignore it. Sure you can get more insightful commentary by using services like Morningstar. But if you miss a story in the Wall Street Journal you could be missing out on profitable trades.

So should you sign-up for The Wall Street Journal subscription service? In my opinion yes you should, the online version is only $1.99 a week so it’s not exactly going to break the bank and you’re sure going to get enough information from it over a year to more than make your money back.

Just think if you owned shares in Enron when the Wall Street Journal broke the story on fraudulent accounting practices. That’s not the sort of information you want to be receiving two days later. The fact is if you’re a serious investor a subscription to the WSJ is a necessity not an option, the only choice you have to make is whether to go print or online.

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