The Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief Gerard Baker sent out a massive memo to staffers that was only matched in its size by the changes announced within.
In the interest of keeping things short, that’s exactly what the Journal plans to do: Cut back on story length. “Bluntly — but obviously, I hope — every story should be as short as it needs to be,” explained Baker. “There’s no excuse for a single otiose word or punctuation mark in our writing. Too many stories have repetitive anecdotes or unnecessary quotes. We will cut them.”
The Journal will also look to publish its higher-impact features earlier in the day.
“Digitally, we will be requiring higher-quality stories much earlier in the day, especially in our enterprise and feature work, so we can publish stories at the times and in the ways our growing ranks of digital readers expect,” wrote Baker. “Too often we publish at hours when readership is low, write subpar stories online in the vital minutes after something has just broken, or build our reporting and writing schedules around the print publishing cycle.”
Along with these changes, the print edition of the Journal will get a revamp. “The paper needs to be more engaging and readable than it is,” explained Baker. “We need a better mix of stories of type and length, for a more attractive and varied layout that engages busy readers with new sidebars and boxes, better graphics, more photos and other ways into stories.”
The Journal newsroom will now be overseen by a digital desk—ran by deputy managing editor Alex Martin—and a print desk, ran by print editor Bob Rose.