Jumps are a pain in the neck for readers and they generally don’t like them. The best part about them, though, is that jumps are just a tool to let part of your readers get more information if they want it. The general reader can almost always tell by the time he’s read seven or eight column inches whether he wants to read another twelve. Many, okay most, don’t jump to read the conclusion of “Fusty Insurance Lures Buyers Seeking Safety,” say, but those who need that information will.
I don’t like the way the FT prohibits jumps. But its front-page stories often point to related stories inside that expand on the subject’s different angles. There’s nothing more from the Journal here.
Look, the Journal has never been a “first-read” paper. That’s what Murdoch wants it to be: See the generic Washington coverage that dominated the front page during the presidential primaries, when resources would have been better used writing about, you know, Wall Street.
With the revolutionized media landscape, papers really have to prove their worth with more analysis and depth and separate themselves from the commodity news whose value lasts for all of five minutes and whose value has consequently been driven down essentially to zero. What makes the Murdoch regime’s move really baffling is that the Journal, more than any other paper—on the shoulders of Barney Kilgore—was set up to flourish in this new landscape.
But the paper, alas, is just going in the wrong direction. No two ways about it.
I hope all you Bancrofts out there are happy.
UPDATE: See this good Jeff Bercovici piece at Portfolio on the extremely negative reaction of the Journal newsroom to the Thomson memo.
Horrifying? More than a few longtime Journal veterans thought so.
“It’s a pretty definitive statement to say that henceforth people will be significantly judged by the frequency with which they break news for bond traders,” says the reporter. “That hasn’t really been the mission of reporters here. It was to make sense of events for the lay reader, and to dig into stories and tell stories in a way that people would remember.”
“It’s depressing to a lot of people who have been there for a long time,” says an ex-staffer who left recently. “Maybe there’s a market for selling this shit to people who are creating trading algorithms, but there’s nobody on the Journal’s staff who wants to write that stuff.
Read the whole thing.