The Wall Street Journal

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Media

The Wall Street Journal

Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet

Owner Dow Jones & Company
Publisher L. Gordon Crovitz
Editor Paul E. Steiger
Founded July 8, 1889
Headquarters 200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281


The Wall Street Journal is an influential international daily newspaper published in New York City, New York with a worldwide average daily circulation of more than 2.6 million as of 2005. For many years it had the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, although it is currently second to USA Today with the Journal having a U.S. circulation of 1.8 million in November 2003. The Journal also publishes Asian and European editions. Its main rival as a daily financial newspaper is the London-based Financial Times, which also publishes several international editions. The Wall Street Journal is owned by Dow Jones & Company.

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 which is the heart of the financial district. It has been printed continuously since its founding on July 8, 1889 by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser. The newspaper has won the Pulitzer Prize twenty-nine times, including the 2003 and 2004 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism.

Foundation to present day

Dow Jones & Company 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 , 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 in 1902; circulation was then around 7,000 but climbed to 50,000 by the end of the 1920s.

A complement to the print newspaper, the Wall Street Journal Online is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web — with 712,000 paid subscribers as of the fourth quarter of 2004. As of November 2006, an annual subscription to the online edition of the Wall Street Journal cost $99 annually for those who do not have subscriptions to the print edition .

In September 2005, the Journal launched a weekend edition, delivered to all subscribers, which marked a return to Saturday publication after a lapse of some 30 years. The move was designed in part to attract more consumer advertising.

In 2005 the Journal reported a readership profile of about 60% top management, an average income of $191,000, an average household net worth of $2.1 million, and an average age of 55.

In 2006 the paper announced that it would be including advertising on its front page for the first time. This follows front page advertising on the European and Asian editions in late 2005.

The paper still uses ink dot drawings called hedcuts, introduced in 1979 , rather than photographs of people, a practice unique among major newspapers. However, the use of colour photographs and graphics has become increasingly common in recent years with the addition of more "lifestyle" sections.

Future plans

In January 2007 the Journal plans to decrease its broadsheet width from 15 to 12 inches while keeping the length at 22 3/4 inches in order to save newsprint costs. The shrinking amounts to a full column. The paper has said it will keep the six column inside format but is uncertain about the effects on the paper's famous front page. Other newspapers owned by Dow Jones & Company are also affected. Barron's Magazine, the journal's weekly edition, will shrink by three inches from top to bottom. The 33 newspapers in the Dow subsidiary Ottaway Community Newspapers converted to the new size between 2000 and 2003. Other newspapers in the country including the The Washington Post are converting to the new standard broadsheet size. The Journal says it will save $18 million a year in newsprint costs across all the papers.


The Journal features several distinct sections:

  • Section One – features corporate news, as well as political and economic reporting
  • Marketplace – includes coverage of health, technology, media, and marketing industries (the second section was launched June 23, 1980)
  • Money and Investing – covers and analyzes international financial markets (the third section was launched October 3, 1988)
  • Personal Journal – published Tuesday-Thursday, this section covers personal investments, careers and cultural pursuits (the personal section was introduced April 9, 2002)
  • Weekend Journal – published Fridays, explores personal interests of business readers, including real estate, travel, and sports (the section was introduced March 20, 1998)
  • Pursuits – published Saturdays, focusing on business readers' leisure-time decisions, including food and cooking, entertainment and culture, books, and the home.

On average, The Journal is about 96 pages long. For the year 2004, the inclusion of 45 additional Special Reports is planned.

Editorial line

The editorial page of the Journal summarizes its philosophy as being in favour of free markets and free people. It is typically viewed as adhering to American conservatism and economic liberalism. The page takes a free-market view of economic issues and an often neoconservative view of American foreign policy. The editorial board has long argued for a less-restrictive immigration policy. In a July 3, 1984 editorial, the board wrote: If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.' The editorial page commonly publishes pieces by U.S. and world leaders in government, politics and business.

The Journal won its first two Pulitzer Prizes for its editorial writing in 1947 and 1953. It describes the history of its editorials:

The Wall Street Journal
They are united by the mantra "free markets and free people," the principles, if you will, marked in the watershed year of 1776 by Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. So over the past century and into the next, the Journal stands for free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities. If these principles sound unexceptionable in theory, applying them to current issues is often unfashionable and controversial.
The Wall Street Journal

Its historical position was much the same, and spelled out the conservative foundation of its editorial page:

The Wall Street Journal
On our editorial page, we make no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view. We believe in the individual, his wisdom and his decency. We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether they stem from attempts at private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government. People will say we are conservative or even reactionary. We are not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical. (William H. Grimes, 1951)
The Wall Street Journal

The Journal's editorial and news page staffs are completely independent from each other. Every Thanksgiving the editorial page has two famous articles that have appeared there since 1961. The first is entitled "The Desolate Wilderness" and describes what pilgrims saw when they arrived in America. The second is entitled "And the Fair Land" and describes in romantic terms the "bounty" of America. It was penned by a former editor Vermont Royster, whose Christmas article "In Hoc Anno Domini," has appeared every December 25 since 1949.

During the Reagan administration the newspaper's editorial page was particularly influential as the leading voice for supply-side economics. Under the editorship of Robert Bartley, it expounded at length on such economic concepts such as the Laffer curve and how a decrease in taxes can in many cases increase overall tax revenue by generating more economic activity, many of which have now entered the mainstream of economic academia.

Its views are somewhat similar to those of the British magazine The Economist with its emphasis on free markets. However, the Journal does have important differences with respect to European business newspapers, most particularly with regard to the relative significance of, and causes of, the American budget deficit. (The Journal generally blames the lack of foreign growth and other related things while most business journals in Europe and Asia blame the very low savings rate and concordant high borrowing rate in the United States).

Regarding personal freedoms, the Journal editorial page stops short of agreeing with such Economist-backed issues as the illegality of Guantanamo Bay's enemy combatants. Regarding the Guantanamo Bay prisoner abuse issue, in the Journal editorial pages, there is justification of the use of torture against wartime enemies, while the Economist has opposed this, in consideration of both PR and of individual human rights.

In the economic argument of exchange rate regimes (one of the most divisive issues among economists), the Journal has a tendency to support fixed exchange rates over floating exchange rates in spite of its support for the free market in other respects. For example, the Journal was a major supporter of the Chinese yuan's peg to the dollar, and strongly opposed the American politicians who were criticising the Chinese government about the peg. It opposed the moves by China to let the yuan gradually float, arguing that the fixed rate benefited both the U.S. and China.

Recurring Columns

  • Daily - Best of the Web Today by James Taranto
  • Tuesday - Global View by Bret Stephens
  • Wednesday - Business World by Holman W. Jenkins Jr
  • Thursday - Cross Country (variety of authors)
  • Friday - Wonder Land by Daniel Henninger and Americas by Mary O'Grady
  • Weekend Edition - Rule of Law (variety of authors)

Notable reporting

The Journal has had several series of articles which have gone on to have significant impact. Many of these have been transformed into books.

Insider trading

In the 1980s, Journal reporter James B. Stewart brought national attention to the illegal practice of insider trading, co-winning the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism in 1988, with Daniel Hertzberg , now the paper's senior deputy managing editor. Stewart expanded on this theme in his book, Den of Thieves.

RJR Nabisco buyout

In 1987, a bidding war ensued between several financial firms for tobacco and food giant RJR Nabisco. This was documented in several Journal articles by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. These articles were later used as the basis of a bestselling book, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, and then into a made-for-TV film .


In 2001, the Journal was ahead of most of the journalistic pack in appreciating the importance of the accounting abuses at Enron, and two of its reporters in particular, Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller, played a crucial role in bringing these abuses to light.

Retrieved from ""