WSJ Editor to reporters: you will be judged on breaking news

March 23, 2009

“Given that revenue reality, henceforth all Journal reporters will be judged, in significant part, by whether they break news for the Newswires. This is a fundamental shift in orientation which will also require a fundamental change in the inaptly named Speedy system.”

That’s the message from WSJ Managing Editor Robert Thomson to his reporters. The memo found on talkingbiznews blog, is one of the most telling indications of the incredible shift in journalism today. As crisiblogger readers and anyone who has been to my presentations knows, I’ve been preaching that it is all about speed for a long time. But the last few months have made it increasingly clear to most everyone just what this means. Newspapers folding right and left. Local television under seige. Twitter. YouTube all over the place. Facebook. iReport. On and on and on. Now some of the most respected journalists in the world being told that their value to their organization is going to be based on how fast they find and report the news.

WSJ (Rupert Murdoch) seems to understand that today the competition for providing relevant information to his audience is not the NYT, not NBC, not Jim Cramer and CNBC, but the millions of ordinary citizens using cell phones, instant access to news channels, Twitter, Facebook and the like. The interconnected nature of our world through the internet means that hundreds, thousands, millions can get the info they need faster than ever and directly from those creating the news–or those closest to it. Witness US Airways 1549–with the first news coming out via Twitter and a cell camera. All news organizations are scrambling with how to compete in this crazy world of public information. Now you know WSJ’s answer: URGENT!

More from editor Thomson: “With these objectives in mind, we are sending Speedy to the knackery and saddling up a successor, the URGENT. New nomenclature alone will not generate news, so there must also be basic changes of principle and practice at the Journal.”

3 Responses to “WSJ Editor to reporters: you will be judged on breaking news”

  1. […] to the crisisblogger) So it’s not enough that we exist in a culture of misinformation defined by media […]

  2. kyle4beantown Says:

    They’re not in as dire shape as the Times with their pseudo-subscription model online. This could come back to haunt Murdoch and Thomson in the long run by diluting their brand at a time when they are ahead of the competition.

  3. […] Roundtable then moved on to talking about a post on Crisisblogger, which covered a memo issued by a Wall Street Journal editor to reporters disclosing that they will […]

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