The WSJ and Dow Jones team in Beijing works around the clock
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
BEIJING — A team of more than 100 journalists and translators work at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires operation in Beijing, literally around the clock.
There are 70 journalists on the news side and almost 50 working in the translation unit, explained China editor Andrew Browne in a recent visit to the office. Of the journalists, a dozen work for The Journal, while the rest are Dow Jones Newswires.
With a 7 a.m. deadline for the United States and a 3 a.m. deadline for the Asia edition of The Journal, reporters are up all night answering questions from editors in New York if their story is appearing in the U.S. edition.
“On a front page story, you don’t go to bed,” said Browne. “You’re up all night dealing with New York. It’s the part of the job that sucks. The problem is that they want it to be as fresh as possible.”
In addition to the print versions of the paper, the staff is also filing copy for a real-time Chinese financial wire that is heavy on coverage of fixed income, foreign exchange, macroeconomics and banks.
Content is also provided written for the Dow Jones wire, the Chinese edition of the website, and a blog called China Real Time, which Browne said is “kind of like karaoke. Anybody can grab the microphone.”
The blog was the first Real Time blog launched on WSJ.com in October 2009. China Real Time content covers mainland China, in addition to Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Articles are contributed by both Wall Street Journal as well as Dow Jones Newswires reporters across greater China. Additional contributions come from industry and policy experts, most recently including Stanley Lubman, a long-time specialist on Chinese law; Michael Dunne, a leading expert on China’s auto industry; and Russell Leigh Moses, a Beijing-based analyst and professor who writes on Chinese politics.
The Journal and Dow Jones now also have Real Time blogs covering Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and India.
The Beijing bureau was the first at Dow Jones to combine The Journal staff with the Dow Jones Newswires staff, a trend that has continued across the company. Browne said that the transition into an integrated staff was “made easier” by the fact that “the newspaper itself became much newsier. There is now quite a bit of overlap between the wire and the papers.”
One issue Browne faces is hiring business journalists with both Chinese and English language skills. The organization is not allowed to hire Chinese national journalists and call them reporters; instead these staffers are “news assistants” who often work alongside journalists.
Rarely will the bureau add a journalist with just English language skills. One such reporter is Bob Davis, who has 35 years of experience. Browne notes that when Davis travels on a story, he must pay for two train tickets and two hotel rooms, but that Davis brings a wealth of knowledge to stories that is worth the price.