Has ‘The Wall Street Journal’ Gone Overboard With its Facebook IPO Coverage?

By Julie D. Andrews 

We’re just waiting for a Facebook tab to appear on The Wall Street Journal’s homepage: The newspaper has been covering with great speed and interest this week’s initial public offering roadshow. Indeed, Facebook has become something of a mainstay as of late.

The newspaper has been covering the IPO roadshow trail since it began Monday, and now it is actually using the social network’s own timeline tool, which launched in March, to further the narrative. It unveiled a Facebook page called Tracking FB’s IPO, with tech support from Facebook.

The graphic reaches back to 2004, before the company launched, and spans through the current IPO roadshow. How very meta of you, WSJ.

Going back to Feb. 4, 2004, it tells a rather comprehensive tale of the formation of the company from that point, when it launched as TheFacebook.com, through to the current 2012 IPO roadshow.

WSJ compiled a collection of front-page articles from the newspaper’s chronicling of Facebook’s history as it unfolded, among other historical nuggets worth taking glancing at.

Troubleshooting any possible negative feedback, the paper posted an explanation of its move, with Social Media Editor Brian Aguilar telling sister blog 10,000 Words via email:

The story lends itself to timeline because it extends over such a long period of time. This new Facebook page lets us bring that same WSJ coverage to Facebook users directly while spurring discussion around the company’s valuation.

When asked whether Tracking FB’s IPO presented a conflict of interest, Aguilar told 10,000 Words:

We don’t see it that way. We’re simply using the Facebook platform to give our readers another way to follow the story … Despite using this new storytelling format on Facebook, the journalism retains the same level of integrity as our coverage elsewhere.

And what else could WSJ title its splashy infographic other than “The Facebook Effect.” Big smile. How very meta, WSJ. We, er, like it.

Readers: Do you think the WSJ is getting a little close to its source, or do you agree with the newspaper that this does not create a conflict of interest?