At a time when every major news organization seems to be adding verticals, building out blogs, and creating sub-brands, The Wall Street Journal is hoping there’s merit in consolidation.
The Journal debuted its new blog MoneyBeat, this week on WSJ.com. But MoneyBeat is more of a rebuild than an entirely new product, as it brings together a number of other Journal properties, including two of the paper’s oldest blog, Deal Journal and Market Beat. As the Journal puts it:
Thanks for reading Deal Journal. We would like to direct you to MoneyBeat, the Wall Street Journal’s brand new global blog. MoneyBeat unites MarketBeat, The Source, Overheard and all the Deal Journal blogs, bringing together all the market, M&A, IPO and hedge-fund news from those blogs into a 24-hour hub for finance news.
By putting all the blogs under one roof, and adding new features like a corresponding MoneyBeat video program for WSJ Live, they hope to create a constantly updating hub for global financial news. “It’s about the reader experience,” said Stephen Grocer, editor of MoneyBeat. “We created great content across multiple blogs, but they weren’t talking together as well as they should.”
Merging all those blogs into one means a faster-moving content stream: MoneyBeat posted 28 stories between midnight and noon of its first day.
Francesco Guerrera , the Journal’s finance editor who oversaw the project, said the coverage on MoneyBeat will focus on three main areas: finance, markets, and deals. Guerrera said the Journal will be able to take advantage of its global network of correspondents to cover breaking news with greater depth and breadth. “There’s that old adage, that all news is local, right? That doesn’t apply to finance, or markets or deal making,” he said. “All financial news is global.”
Grocer pointed to news of Dish Network’s bid to buy Sprint, a story that has an impact within the boundaries of the U.S. but also around the globe. On MoneyBeat, they’ll chase those stories earlier, tease out the details that investors and consumers are curious about, and help lead the coverage the print edition of the Journal. “The goal on a daily basis is to cut through the reams of information that are driving the financial markets and centers across the globe every day and bring readers the most important news,” Grocer said. That also means pulling the international Deal Journal content that had previously been separated by country into a common mix.
Moving the blogs under one title is as much a consolidation as it is an expansion, one that recognizes the speed and accessibility that comes with blogs. “We’ve seen it anecdotally and in traffic numbers,” Guerrera said. “The sweet spot for us, thankfully, is the the same for our readers. It’s global perspective in deals, finance, and markets.”
Phillipa Leighton-Jones, London-based European editor for MoneyBeat, said the appetite for financial news on an international scale has been growing in recent years because of the ongoing economic problems in the US and Europe. Readers today are more familiar with terms like credit default swap or Libor then 5 years ago, she said. “Readers have become more used to reading things they didn’t think they were interested in or didn’t have the language to make it accessible,” she said. “I think there are correlations that even we didn’t really appreciate before.”
Blogging makes for a good platform for most financial news because it tends to move at a faster clip and often lends itself to dissection, Leighton-Jones said. Instead of a 3,000 word story on how actions by Japan’s central bank are causing ripples around the world, the story could be broken out in a series of bullet points or data, she said. That mix of content, along with a rapid posting cycle, is what builds an audience, she said.
“I think people are more open to wanting to know what is going on,” she said. “It makes for good dinner party conversation and a people feel this is more accessible than it used to be.”