Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal


Is the WSJ guilty of plagiarism?


Dylan Byers and Hadas Gold of Politico write about allegations of plagiarism levied by Daniel Flynn, a conservative author and columnist, against The Wall Street Journal.

Byers and Gold write, “What followed was a battle between Flynn and the Journal that ultimately resulted in Flynn publicly accusing the Journal and author Max Boot — a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times — of plagiarism. In a column for The American Spectator published Friday, Flynn claimed that Boot’s article “freeloaded” the “research, structure, and ideas” from his work.

“Boot and representatives from the Journal deny that charge, and both Boot and his research assistant say they had no knowledge of Flynn or his work until they received inquiries from POLITICO. This was simply an instance of two writers with a similar viewpoint on an issue marshaling the limited set of facts and arguments available to make their case, Boot said.

“In an email on Thursday night, Boot threatened to take legal action against POLITICO if it printed Flynn’s ‘scurrilous and unsubstantiated allegations.’

“The entire episode, as outlined in extensive email correspondence and notes provided to POLITICO by both Flynn and Boot, offers a unique window into a very complicated fight that has left both parties feeling unfairly treated by the other side. It also sheds some light on how editors at the Journal handle the process of freelance submissions.”

Read more here.
Nell Henderson

WSJ/Dow Jones names editor overseeing global banks


Dow Jones Newswires executive editor Almar Latour sent out the following email to the staff:

I’m pleased to announce that Nell Henderson is appointed Editor, Global Central Banks. In this new role, she will oversee an expansion in central banks coverage for DJX, our new specialized real-time digital news service, and The Journal.

Nell joined the Journal as economics editor in January 2011, overseeing coverage of the Federal Reserve, fiscal policy and international economics. Previously, she covered the Fed as a reporter at the Washington Post, where she spent more than 20 years as a reporter and economics editor. Between the Journal and Post, Nell spent three years at McKinsey Global Institute.

Nell will remain based in Washington and will report to Jerry Seib for news matters and to Dave Pettit for DJX strategy and development.


WSJ box

WSJ names editors for real-time news desk


Wall Street Journal real-time news editor Steve Wisnefski sent out the following staff appointments:

We are pleased to announce the appointment of editors leading coverage of world, finance, and business news on the Real-Time News Desk. These New York-based editors will help drive breaking news coverage in close coordination with news desks and bureau chiefs around the globe, and lead teams of journalists on the real-time desk, with an emphasis on digital output. The appointments to these newly created positions reflect our commitment to providing the fastest, smartest coverage of breaking news and to serving WSJ.com, DJX and mobile platforms with exclusive, innovative content.

Margaret de Streel will lead world news coverage on the real-time desk. Margaret has a wealth of international experience and comes to the real-time desk from the World News Desk. Margaret began her career at The Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels, where she worked on the monitor desk, as corporate-news editor, and helped launch a magazine focusing on Central Europe. She returned to New York eight years ago as a news editor for the Real Estate and Media & Marketing pages before moving to the International desk.

Geoffrey Rogow will manage the finance team on the real-time desk, looking after coverage of financial services companies and markets.

Geoff, who joined Dow Jones Newswires in 2004 on the spot news desk, has ample experience covering financial markets in real time. Most recently, he served as an editor for DJ FX Trader. Among his previous roles, Geoff was an economics and markets reporter in Sydney, and he was a stock market reporter in New York during the crash of 2008.

Geoff is also a regular WSJ Live host.

George Stahl will guide the desk’s coverage of business news, including corporate disclosure and important industry developments.

George started as a copyreader on the Dow Jones Newswires Spot News desk in 1996 and eventually became a manager there. He later led the Newswires Hot Stocks desk; edited and contributed to Market Talk; and supervised the Rewrite Desk. Most recently, George was deputy managing editor for Newswires, responsible for tech, health and media coverage, among other duties.

Please join us in wishing Margaret, Geoff and George much success in their new roles.

We expect to name a U.S. news editor for the real-time desk soon. You will also hear more in coming weeks about the development of the real-time desk and changes in the newsroom that we hope will significantly enhance our real-time and digital news.


WSJ names editors to oversee Latin America coverage


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

Our integration of Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal takes another big global step forward today with the formal integration of our newsgathering operations throughout Latin America.

I am pleased to announce that David Luhnow is appointed Editor, Latin America, overseeing a team of 31 people from Mexico to Patagonia. This includes the vitally important bureau in Brazil, a growing and increasingly significant country that will be one key focus of expansion for us in the months ahead.

David has been the WSJ bureau chief for the region since 2008, leading coverage of everything from the Mexican drug war to Haiti’s momentous earthquake to the rise (and recent faltering) of Brazil and the tumultuous era of Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. David joined the Journal in 2000. During his tenure, he and the Latin America team have received global recognition for the peerless excellence of their coverage. Prior to joining the Journal, David spent seven years at Reuters: in Mexico, Panama, Scotland and London.

In addition, Santiago Perez is appointed Deputy Editor. Before moving to Mexico City in mid-December, Santiago was chief of the integrated bureau in Madrid, responsible for coverage of Spain and Portugal. He began his career with Dow Jones in 1996 in New York, and worked as a reporter in Mexico´s bureau for nearly seven years. He has also worked for several Latin American publications, including Mexico´s Reforma and Argentina´s Pagina/12.

Please join me in congratulating David and Santiago on their new roles.


Dow Jones auto reporter elected union VP


The nominations period for the 2013 IAPE Special Election has closed, and the Union Election Committee has declared business journalist Jeff Bennett the new vice president for Local 1096.

Bennett, currently an IAPE location director in Detroit, was the only nominee. There were no nominations received for the other vacant positions on the IAPE Board of Directors — Location Director in Boston and Chicago.

With fewer than 18 months remaining in the current term of office, those positions may now be filled on an interim basis by appointment from the IAPE Board. The location director position held by Bennett in Detroit is now considered vacant and may also be filled by the Board.

Bennett has been with the Dow Jones & Co. for almost six years and works in the Detroit bureau covering General Motors Co. He has spent more than 25 years in the news business starting when he covered sports for a weekly newspaper while in high school.

He is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisc., and currently resides in Ferndale, Mich., with his wife, Kim, who is a reporter at the Detroit News. He has worked at Bloomberg News, the Detroit Free Press, The Greenville News in S.C., The Jackson Sun in Tennessee, and The Freeport Journal-Standard and City News in Illinois.

Bennett had been serving his second term as an IAPE location director, and is a member of the Executive Council for Local 1096. He fills the position last held by Bob Kozma, who assumed the IAPE presidency on June 1, 2013 after Steve Yount resigned for health reasons.

Guide to Business

Jargon, alphabet soup and numeracy problems all bug style guru


Paul Martin retired at the end of July from The Wall Street Journal, ending a 53-year stint at the business newspaper.

He had spent the last 27 years running its “Style & Substance” report, which dissected Journal stories for their word usage and phrasing.

Martin, who joined the Journal in 1960 as a copyreader, became the paper’s copy desk chief in 1972 and compiled and edited “The Wall Street Journal Stylebook” since its first internal publication in 1981.

He began editing the Business and Finance column in 1969, and became a senior special writer for Page One in 1975.

He moved to the national desk in 1988, where he led a team of editors working on inside features and stories for special pages. In 1989, after serving as an editor for the Journal’s Centennial Edition, he returned to Page One. He was named an assistant to the managing editor in March 1990, responsible for fielding reader complaints and editing letters to the editor, in addition to his Page One duties.

In January 1993, he was named an assistant managing editor. At the end of 2001, he retired as a full-time staff member, but retained his duties as style arbiter and awards coordinator.

In 2000, Martin received the Elliott V. Bell Award from the New York Financial Writers’ Association. The Bell Award is given each year to the person the association deems has made a significant, long-term contribution to the profession of financial journalism.

Martin, a graduate of Dartmouth College, spoke with Talking Biz News via email recently about his career and the importance of style in business journalism. What follows is an edited transcript.

How did you first get interested in journalism, or more specifically, business journalism?

I was a newspaper carrier from age 12 to 18, morning, evening and Sunday, in my hometown of Lancaster, Pa., and I never seriously considered anything but journalism for a career. I wasn’t specifically interested in business journalism until I was offered a job at The Wall Street Journal in 1960.

When I joined the copydesk, the managing editor, Warren Phillips (later chairman of Dow Jones) told me to approach business articles like all others: “If you don’t understand them, it’s your job to make them understandable.” I think that’s still good advice, but the challenge is greater because Wall Street and its arcana have become ever more arcane over the years. Does anyone really understand credit default swaps?

What attracted you to The Wall Street Journal back in 1960?

The Journal at the time was one of the few papers anywhere with journalists in the top corporate positions. That was important to me and many other journalists. Also, the Journal promised me I wouldn’t have to stay in New York if I decided later I wanted to work at another bureau or production plant. I didn’t think I’d like New York in the long term, but I was so wrong. And the editors in New York were unbelievably nurturing for young journalists.

p_martin_headshot (2)What were some of the bigger issues with business journalism in the 1960s and 1970s in terms of making it understandable to all readers?

As the Journal in that era was becoming a national newspaper with international ambitions, the energy crisis and Watergate took center stage. Business news was viewed in the larger context, but it remained the Journal’s bread and butter. Every term or concept was to be made clear to the lay reader, (Airline articles even condescendingly and redundantly defined a revenue passenger mile as “one paying passenger carried one mile.”)

Industry statistics and companies’ earnings reports were covered far more assiduously than today, filling page after page of the paper, and great care also was taken, for instance, to make one company’s profit calculations as comparable as possible to those of other companies. Presentations in press releases were view with suspicion.

How did the paper teach better writing and better style?

As at many papers, I think, it was largely a matter of osmosis. But the Journal had some of the best writers, particularly on page one, and they took time to work with reporters on their drafts. Bill Blundell, one of the paper’s best writers, also gave seminars on feature writing. And bureau chiefs and department heads took time to tutor newcomers.

When you became the copydesk chief in 1972, what were your daily responsibilities?

The copydesk chief oversaw the 12 or so editors who cleared the copy for the entire paper except for the page-one features and the opinion pages. The chief did the hiring and firing and was the night “slot” editor, checking the work of all the “rim” editors before it went to the typesetters.

Why did you decide that the Journal needed its own stylebook?

Aside from needing a reference to define some business and financial terms that weren’t included in other general style guides, we had a host of rules that were peculiar to us – we didn’t abbreviate Texas, Maine and Idaho after city names, for example. These rules had been passed along orally for decades. Training new copy editors would be far simpler with a stylebook, I realized, so I got to work on the Journal’s first one. But compiling it and getting it cleared by the managing editor took years, so, as luck would have it, I had moved on to the page-one desk before it was published in 1981.

There were a lot of major business stories in the 1980s such as LBOs and inflation and the 1987 crash. Did that make style and usage more important?

Style and usage are constantly evolving, which is a good reason for having the stylebook online. Business writing is perhaps more prone to permutations than most, but consistency of style is always important. The faster the economy and the markets change, the more editors need to strive to remain on the same page.

What do you see as the biggest improvements in business journalism style and usage in the past 50 years?

Technology, technology and technology.

Fifty years ago, an old fellow called Pop Harris, wearing a green eye shade, was still calculating the Dow Jones averages and entering them by hand in ledger books as he had for ages at the Journal headquarters, at 44 Broad St. in New York.

But the Journal even then was becoming a pioneer in introducing new technology, going from hot type to offset to facsimile production that used satellites to transmit the paper’s pages to remote printing plants across the country.

Still, the Journal was one of the last big papers to computerize its newsroom. The top editors feared that computers would short-circuit the layers of editing the Journal was famous for and greatly weaken the final product. That fear was well founded, especially in the short term. Fewer eyes on reporters’ drafts meant more unplugged holes in the stories. But with constant adjustments, the electronic system became a great benefit, speeding up and smoothing out the process and helping to standardize style and usage.

What still needs to be improved upon?

Too much reporting on business and the economy is analysis or conjecture masquerading as news. Distinctions should be kept clear. Clear sourcing is also important. Readers need to know as specifically as possible who is providing the information in articles, to help them discern its credibility.

What are your biggest pet peeves in business writing today?

In a word: jargon. Everyone and everything has become iconic, everyone is going forward instead of looking ahead, every executive is tasking everyone to transitively grow the company.

In three other words: acronym alphabet soup. Quick, what is AMPAS? It is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of course, but in an article mentioning it, “the academy” is the better second reference.

Numeracy problems also pop up like whack-a-moles — an assertion, for example, that something is 10 times smaller than something else. If it is one factor smaller, it is nonexistent. What is usually meant is that it is one-tenth as large as that other thing.

The biggest crime involving numbers, however, is mixing up millions, billions and trillions. It leads to more corrections than any other category, it seems. There’s no magic cure, but recognizing the hazard is a start.

Then there is the casual use of superlatives like “biggest” without providing the measure. Is a company the biggest in capitalization, sales, or revenue or what? And can we prove it. If there is any doubt, just call it one of the biggest. This simple step can save millions or billions of corrections.

Does the general American public know more about the business world today than they did in 1960, and what does that mean for a business journalist?

The average reader is probably more sophisticated today, but unless you are writing for the Harvard Business Review, the business-page writer would do well to follow the advice I was given in 1960: If you don’t understand it, it’s your job to make it understandable.

What's News

WSJ’s Baker on reducing size of “What’s News” column


Here is the memo that Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker sent out Monday to the staff on the size reduction of the front-page “What’s News” column:

Even as we become daily a more digital newspaper, increasing the reach and impact of our reporting, analysis and comment online and on our various electronic platforms, we never neglect our print edition. With just under 1.5m copies sold every day in the US, the print Journal remains the primary source of news for a vast number of our readers. We take great pride in the print paper and we aim to keep it sharp in its reporting, comprehensive in its coverage and lively in its look and content.

Page One remains the point of introduction for our print readers. As such it performs two principal functions: a digest of the day’s main news and a deeper exploration of the big stories and themes that are driving world events. We’ve made significant changes to the front page in the last five years, adding news, broadening the subject agenda to include more general topics, and significantly enhancing the visual appeal with photos, graphics and other colorful innovations. The aim has always been to expand and strengthen the Journal’s reach, while maintaining its unimpeachable editorial values. The result has been impressive: the Journal is now America’s largest-subscription daily newspaper.

In today’s US print edition we make another adjustment to the front page that will enable us to bring even more news and original reporting to the showcase page of the paper.

The What’s News Column has long been a valued tool for our readers, a comprehensive, elegant and concise digest of the most important stories in the day’s news. Over its long history, the look and substance of What’s News has evolved. In its early days it ran as a single column. For some time it has run most days at two columns; in the recent past we have run it at one column on Saturdays and occasionally on other days when the news flow dictates.

From today we will be running it again daily as a single column. There are a number of reasons. For some time now, since the paper went to a smaller page width six years ago, the remaining four columns of front page news have constrained the rest of the articles into a punishingly thin four columns. What’s more, since the changes we’ve made in the last few years to A1 have made the front page newsier, the case for two full columns of news digest items has diminished, and some of the items in the What’s News columns have become repetitive, even otiose.

What’s News will remain the anchor and distinguishing feature of the Journal’s front page. It will continue to provide the best and most succinct summary of the big news stories of the day – Business & Finance and World-Wide – and to serve as a table of contents for what’s inside the paper. What’s more, by removing the daily Vital Signs economics graphic from the foot of the columns, as well as Monday’s What’s Ahead columns, and by editing the individual digest stories in a more concise form, we’ll have room for almost as many What’s News items as we have had in the last few years.

The additional column available for the rest of the page will give us more flexibility in presenting our big stories of the day. It will enable us to get to the front page more of our original reporting, more news – including no-jump stories as brevity sometimes demands – more enterprise reporting, more creative and appealing use of news photography, graphics and other visual devices. And we’ll also have more space to point the reader inside to other big stories in the paper. I urge all of you to take the opportunity presented by the change to contribute more reporting to the front page.

Page One, indeed the entire print Journal, is not a lapidary construct, an unchanging monument to editorial decisions set in stone generations ago. Its look and content has changed often and will continue to change. We’ll seek new ways to evolve it to strengthen its standing as the source of the most important news in America: always with the primary objective of bringing our readers the news they need. Gerry


WSJ reducing “What’s News” on front page to one column


Azi Paybarah and Joe Pompeo of Capital New York write about a redesign at The Wall Street Journal that includes reducing the “What’s News” feature on the front page to one column.

Paybarah and Pompeo write, “Top Journal employees first learned on a conference call earlier this week that the daily “What’s News” box, long an A1 institution, will shrink from two columns to one, according to multiple sources familiar with the decision.

“The ‘What’s News’ box runs the length of the front page, along the left, and gives thumbnail sketches of articles in the day’s paper (and sometimes news briefs that aren’t further covered inside, like today’s entry on the death of actress Karen Black). The feature bullet-points key stories in two categories: ‘Business & Finance’ and ‘World-Wide.’ At the bottom of the box is a ‘Vital Signs’ graphic that gives readers a bit of visual data-candy after they’ve rolled their eyes past all that text.

“A Journal spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny the change.

“‘I have no comment,’ she said.”

Read more here.

Rachel Feintzeig

WSJ names new management reporter


Nikki Waller, management editor of The Wall Street Journal, sent out the following staff announcement on Friday:

I am delighted to announce that Rachel Feintzeig has joined the Management bureau to cover executives, managing and corporate leadership trends, along with the management consulting industry.

Rachel joined Dow Jones in 2008 as a bankruptcy and restructuring reporter in Washington, D.C., followed by a stint in Philadelphia covering the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Chapter 11 adventures. She then moved to New York, where she memorably reported on Hostess Brands’ bankruptcy, scoring important scoops on the company’s sale and sating reader appetites for news of the death, and eventual resurrection of, the Twinkie.

Rachel is a native of Fairfield, Conn. and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Please congratulate her on this important new role.


FBI finds problems in government’s system to prevent leaks of economic data


The Federal Bureau of Investigation has discovered vulnerabilities in the government’s system for preventing market-moving economic reports from leaking to traders before public release, reports Brody Mullins and Devlin Barrett of The Wall Street Journal.

Mullins and Barrett write, “The black boxes are key to the government’s control of the data. Media firms in the business of reporting economic data are required to connect their computers to the black boxes, which operate like a trapdoor, releasing articles and data streams when the embargoes lift. In theory, all the data should be released at the same time.

“The investigative report, which was completed in May and obtained through an open-records request, indicates that the FBI’s concerns are based on testing of black boxes at its Quantico, Va. facilities. The report didn’t say whether the FBI knows of any specific instance in which anyone knowingly exploited the weaknesses. Many of the technical flaws involve different ways in which the black boxes can be bypassed.

“The report focused primarily on a short-lived probe of Bloomberg L.P., which was exonerated of any wrongdoing. The Bloomberg issue began in May 2012 when the media firm installed new devices in the Commerce Department to speed up delivery of data to subscribers, according to the Commerce report.

“In its own testing, Bloomberg found it could get around the black box in several ways, such as sending data using different electrical current.

“Bloomberg reported the flaws to the Commerce Department last summer and didn’t use the devices in any data releases, Bloomberg told investigators, according to the report. After Bloomberg alerted the department, the FBI conducted a “consensual seizure” of its computers for testing.”

Read more here.