Friday, December 05, 2008

Congrats to the Journal

I often wonder why I read the Wall St. Journal.  Doesn’t a combination of the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times provide enough news for me?  Maybe I read the Journal as a way to get my adrenalin flowing in the morning.  Reactionary editorials.  Conservative columnists.  Guaranteed to piss me off.

On top of the disagreeable substance, until recently the presentation was as dull and uninspiring as the writing.  No color.  No pictures.  Very retro.

All this began to change before Murdoch bought the paper, but since he took over the difference has been dramatic.  Not so much on the editorial side.  Most of their opinions and op-ed pieces are as repugnant as ever.  But there is more and more news and their presentation has leapt into the 21st century.

As I became aware over the last six months or so of all these changes I began to ask myself a question: when would I start reading the Journal for news?  As the third paper I read in the morning I figured I already knew enough about the subjects that interested me, so there was no point.

Until this past week.  Even though others covered the carnage in Mumbai, my keen interest in all things Indian led me to pay attention to everything I came across.  So I read the Journal’s coverage, all of it.  It was outstanding.  Far better than the Times, the usual gold standard for foreign news.  More interesting.  More news that wasn’t repeated elsewhere.  Details about the chronology that enabled me to understand what had actually happened.  Powerful photographs.  Maps I could follow.  The works.

So as the British would say, I broke my duck insofar as news from the Journal is concerned.  It won’t likely become my newspaper of choice for news or anything else in the near future, but I will no longer just assume there’s no point in checking it out.

Congratulations to the Journal!


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