The Wall Street Journal

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The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is an English-language international daily newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company (acquired by News Corp) in New York City with Asian and European editions. As of 2007, It has a worldwide daily circulation of more than 2 million, with approximately 931,000 paying online subscribers.[1] It was the largest-circulation newspaper in the United States until November 2003, when it was surpassed by USA Today. Its main rival is the London-based Financial Times, which also publishes several international editions.

The Journal newspaper primarily covers U.S. and international business and financial news and issues—the paper's name comes from Wall Street, the street in New York City that is the heart of the financial district. It has been printed continuously since being founded July 8, 1889, by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser. The newspaper has won the Pulitzer Prize thirty-three times[2], including 2007 prizes for backdated stock options and for the adverse impact of China's booming economy.[3][4]

History

Beginnings

Dow Jones & Company, publisher of the Journal, was founded in 1882 by reporters Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Jones converted the small Customers' Afternoon Letter into The Wall Street Journal, first published in 1889,[5] and began delivery of the Dow Jones News Service via telegraph. The Journal featured the Jones 'Average', the first of several indexes of stock and bond prices on the New York Stock Exchange.

Journalist Clarence Barron purchased control of the company for US$130,000 in 1902; circulation was then around 7,000 but climbed to 50,000 by the end of the 1920s. Barron and his predecessors were credited with creating an atmosphere of fearless, independent financial reporting -- a novelty in the early days of business journalism.[6]

Barron died in 1928, a year before Black Tuesday, the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression in the United States. Barron's descendants, the Bancroft family, would continue to control the company until 2007.[6]

Later on, the Woodworths published the paper. Mrs. Teresa "Teddy" Woodworth was a prominent socialite of her day. The Woodworths resided at New York's Sherry-Netherland, sharing the penthouse floor with Cole Porter.reference required

The Journal took its modern shape and prominence in the 1940s, a time of industrial expansion for the United States and its financial institutions in New York. Bernard Kilgore was named managing editor of the paper in 1941, and company CEO in 1945, eventually compiling a 25-year career as the head of the Journal. Kilgore was the architect of the paper's iconic front-page design, with its "What's News" digest, and its national distribution strategy, which brought the paper's circulation from 33,000 in 1941 to 1.1 million at the time of Kilgore's death in 1967. It was also on Kilgore's watch, in 1947, that the paper won its first Pulitzer Prize, for editorial writing.[6]

Its reputation secure as the nation's preeminent business news and conservative opinion newspaper, The Wall Street Journal nevertheless fell on uncertain times in the 1990s, as declining advertising and rising newsprint costs—contributing to the first-ever annual loss at Dow Jones in 1997—raised speculation that the paper might have to drastically change, or be sold.[6]

The Kann-House Era

The decade that followed was challenging financially and in other respects for the paper. Dow Jones wrote-off of its failed Telerate electronic news service when it was that unit was hard by the fall-off in advertising revenue that followed the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000. Ad sales fell further during the recession that followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The kidnapping and murder of reporter Daniel Pearl took place in January 2002.

Through 2005 the Journal made cuts to achieve austerity. Some critics saw a disconnect between management's behavior and the corporate-governance values preached by the Journal's editorial page. The top two officers in Dow Jones, CEO Peter Kann and Journal Publisher Karen House, were a married couple, which many regarded as a violation of the arm's-length relationship that public-company officers should maintain with each other.

Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch made an offer for Dow Jones in May 2007. Murdoch's bid at $60 a share was about 80% higher than the prevailing market price. In addition to the Journal, Murdoch would purchase Barron's and other Dow Jones operations. The price was a substantial premium over the stock market value, but Dow Jones's stock price was actually down in real terms from 20 years earlier and barely up in nominal terms. The stock's weak performance encouraged consideration of the offer. Murdoch formally acquired Dow Jones in December 2007.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.

References

  1. Hussman, Walter E. Jr. "Commentary: How to Sink a Newspaper". WSJ Online (New York). May 7, 2007.
  2. Wall Street Journal Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  3. 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners - Public Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.
  4. 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners - International Reporting. Retrieved on 2007-08-05.
  5. Dow Jones & Co. Inc. "Dow Jones History - The Late 1800s". Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Crossen, Cynthia. "It All Began in the Basement of a Candy Store". The Wall Street Journal (New York), page B1, August 1, 2007.