WSJ’s Baker: We will expand tech news coverage, conference biz

by
WSJ Tech Cafe

Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker sent out the following message to the staff on Wednesday:

 

 

No topic in business journalism is of greater importance than technology. In the last quarter century, the pace of innovation has accelerated, lifting productivity, eliminating distance, disrupting age-old business practices and generally transforming the way we live.  The tech sector itself has become dominant in the global economy, and many of the largest enterprises in the world are tech companies.  But technology’s impact is so immanent that it no longer even makes sense to talk about a tech sector.  As we report on virtually every aspect of human activity we are reporting on the role of technology.

So we need to ensure that the Wall Street Journal offers the most complete and insightful coverage of this dynamic economic engine.  The Journal’s audience demands the best in technology coverage from us.  This means not just breaking news about tech companies big and small, reports on innovation and the evolving science, examination of the proliferating start-ups that are transforming the way we operate, analysis of the forces at work in financing and sustaining technology businesses, but also the very best in consumer journalism – lively and readable personal technology reviews to help readers make the most informed choices when spending on new gadgets.

For years, the All Things Digital brand was an important element of the Journal’s tech offering, led with great verve and skill by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.  We have been deeply appreciative of what they’ve both achieved and I’m especially grateful to Walt for his work as a Journal writer over many decades and in particular for his Personal Technology column over the last 20 years. But as I announced last week, we have mutually decided not to continue the relationship with them when our contract expires at the end of this year.

Instead, we will embark afresh on a major global expansion of our technology coverage.  This will operate under a separate brand and will aim to capture the zeitgeist of tech in comprehensive and innovative ways.  But it will be very much an integral part of The Wall Street Journal and will be rooted in the Journal’s standards of fair, objective, reliable and stimulating journalism.

The new team will comprise at least 20 reviewers, bloggers, visual journalists, editors, and reporters covering digital.  Their efforts will be augmented by the existing large technology team we have already created – and to which we have added in the last few months under the leadership of Jonathan Krim, our Technology Editor.  The expanded team will include some of the best tech writers out there.  We have already laid down a clear signal of our intent with the recent arrival of Farhad Manjoo, one of the finest tech commentators in the business.  In the next few months we will be advertising and hiring for these new positions.

As part of this global push, we will also be expanding our conference franchise to include an international technology conference that will bring together the most dynamic and thoughtful leaders in tech from around the world. This too will help build an engaged and highly sophisticated global community.

Rebecca Blumenstein will be coordinating and driving this effort and I encourage you to approach her with ideas for how we can make this the best in its class.

The Journal’s reputation for excellence is unrivalled.  We have an unmissable opportunity now to become the lead source of news, information, analysis, comment in tech and to build our own digital community in this most exciting field of economic activity.  I look forward to working with you to ensure we seize it.