I’m currently reading The Wall Street Journal Monday through Saturday. I’m reading more newspapers because of business school. This is my review of the newspaper.
Why I Picked Up The Wall Street Journal
For my Wall Street Journal review, I figured it would be best to walk you through why I tried it out in the first place. Starting business school is scary. At least it was scary for me. Most of my previous education experience was creativity related: creative writing, art, American literature, and literary theory. My job experience often fluctuates between retail and customer service. However, a few years ago I ended up working in an office in a professional setting. Now I’m in an MBA program, and we’ll just have to see what happens next. Recently, someone recommended that I try out some newspapers along with my business classes. That does make some sense. After all, I read literary journals and stuff while I was studying creative writing and literature.
The New York Times vs The Wall Street Journal
When I looked into the different newspapers available to me, I didn’t look into the politics of the papers; I knew that a business paper would more-than-likely lean more to the conservative side of politics anyway. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were options. I didn’t look into the companies that owned the newspapers, I just looked at what the papers offered.
The NYT seemed like a safe bet for me; I’d probably feel safe reading it. Glancing at the past headlines, I noticed political news and articles about social justice, social issues, culture, and art. There is a business section, but it still had the same social justice and culture feel that the rest of the paper had. The opinion section is interesting and much more diverse than The WSJ. After looking at the opinion section, it didn’t feel that much different in tone from the rest of the paper.
Looking into The WSJ, the paper seems to slant more towards business news, even on their front page. The business section is also full of interesting graphs and charts, many more than The NYT. There’s a helpful index listing all the businesses and people that are discussed in the section.
After my own research, I consulted others.
Asking Around About The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal
You have to start somewhere, and asking around is often the easiest way to get started. When I asked around about which newspaper was the best for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals, the answer I got the most often was The WSJ. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean much. Fox News is pretty popular these days, however, I do not find Fox News to be the most credible when it comes to actual journalism and daily news. There are interesting pundits, most of whom I completely disagree with, which may make them even more interesting sometimes. And, the Fox News channel has always been a cable news channel with its biases and its pundits. The WSJ was a newspaper before it was acquired by Dow Jones and as best I can tell, it’s still a newspaper.
The Wall Street Journal $1-A-Week Trial
Since the whole point of reading the news was to help me with my business-knowledge, I selected a trial run of The WSJ. Of course, I quickly caught the fact that the parent company was Dow Jones. However, I didn’t know that Dow Jones was owned by Rupert Murdock. I hear he’s a very conservative, very anti-gay, very republican man. As a gay man, of course I worry about it. That being said, I also try not to let politics of owners alone sway me away from at least looking into their products. I also don’t really know that much about Rupert Murdock, really, only what I’ve “heard”. I know that he created Fox News, and I don’t much care for Fox News. However, Fox News is not a newspaper.
Reading The Wall Street Journal in Print
For my Wall Street Journal review, I could’ve easily just read a few of the articles online and blogged about that. Of course, I wanted to do this right. I didn’t just want to get a digital subscription, at least not at first. I know from my past experience with reading local newspapers that I don’t read things online as often as I think I will. I’ll skim the titles, maybe click on one or two of them, and then be on my way. With a physical paper-copy of The WSJ, I am more likely to read it. It’s right there outside my door every morning. It’s easy.
One of the first things I noticed about the articles on the front page was that, I actually read them. I know, groundbreaking. Of course, the front page is often news that happened yesterday, just written from a “this morning” perspective. To be honest, that’s fine. I’ll probably not catch most of the news as it happens on the website throughout the day anyway. I’m in grad school and I work full-time, so most of my news is going to digested later.
The Front Page
I found the articles to be pretty relevant, even to me as a creative person who hasn’t been a business-guy my whole life. I’ve always at least paid attention to politics, so I wasn’t completely lost.
As far as the articles themselves, even though I expected them to be incredibly far-right leaning, they were mostly just pretty straight forward. Nothing is perfect, of course, and every now-and-then there’s a little bias, but all journalists have biases. At least so far I’ve been pretty okay at recognizing bias when I see it.
The Business Section
A lot of the news on the front page is slightly skewed towards business. However, you really can’t appreciate The WSJ’s strength until you flip to the business section. I’m new to stocks and bonds, so it is nice to see all of the relevant news about companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, and Wal-Mart. The charts and stats are interesting, but not something I’d look at if it wasn’t put in front of me every day.
The articles in the business section are also written by journalists, and they will undeniably have some biases. That being said, they still do a pretty good job of keeping the articles factual. Occasionally, an article will turn into a persuasive piece, but at least with facts used to justify their stance most of the time. I mumble something like “this should have been in the opinion section” a few times a week. However, after reading, I usually still appreciate the journalists’ work.
The Opinion Section Is Like The Reddit of Newspapers
Then we have the opinion section. It’s actually usually between the national news and the business news, but I usually save it for last. The reason being that I, as a democrat, tend to disagree with pretty much everything in it. But, disagreeing with people is a skill, and I’m at least getting better at practicing it.
I like to think of the opinion section of The WSJ as the Reddit of newspapers, but that’s probably not the most accurate comparison if you’re not me. I have tried to like Reddit so many times, but for whatever reason, people on Reddit just don’t like me. People disagree with pretty much everything I say on it. I think a lot of the people I end up interacting with are trolls.
So anyway, if you are a conservative troll on Reddit, maybe you’ll like The Wall Street Journal opinion section. Best of luck to you.
Okay, I suppose that’s not fair. I will say that the editorials in The WSJ are well-written. Sometimes the views are surprising, but only in a “wow that’s a surprisingly liberal of them to say” kind of way.
The Wall Street Journal Print Edition Review: Overall
If I had to pick one strength to highlight for my review of The Wall Street Journal it would be the focus on business, of course. Other papers have business sections. When I want to know what’s going on in the markets and in the business world though, The WSJ seems to do a great job of keeping me in the loop.
In addition, The WSJ does a great job of separating fact from opinion. This was pretty surprising to me. I’ve also been trying out The New York Times, and while I enjoy a lot of the articles in The NY Times for a lot of reasons, their articles seem to float between persuasive essay and fact quite a bit. The NY Times still does a good job of reporting facts, aside from the occasional bias-slip that, again, will inevitably exist because journalists are human beings.
The NYT’s articles tend to be a lot longer than the articles in The WSJ. This may account for why the articles in The NYT sometimes end up coming across as a little more persuasive in style. When I don’t want to read a super long article and need to read the news, The WSJ has served me well over the month of reading it. I enjoy the layout of the WSJ’s print edition and the word count of the articles is much more digestible than The NYT.
The Wall Street Journal Online Edition
So, it’s been a little over a month. I live in a metropolitan area where I can get the physical print edition delivered to my door by 7am every morning, Monday-Saturday. (There is no Sunday edition of The WSJ.) I’ve gotten really used to reading the print version of the paper. There have been some problems, though. Once or twice a month, my residence will get missed by the carrier. There are also environmental concerns. The WSJ claims to only partner with mills that use recycled material, but I’ve found that doesn’t really mean much. Often times, things can only be recycled once anyway. Besides, there’s an alternative to the print edition: the online edition. For these reasons, I’ve been trying to get better at reading the online edition of The WSJ.
Skimming The Headlines
With the print edition, it’s easy to just pick it up and read the front page. I do at least read the front page and the business section articles. With the online edition, it’s easier to skim the headlines. However, I don’t click every article so I feel like I read less when I stick to website. I need to get better at reading the online edition.
There is a print-replica online, which has helped me transition to reading the WSJ online. It’s not quite as convenient as having the paper in my hands. The WSJ has designed their very own print edition app and website that works exceptionally well. The NYT doesn’t have their own print edition app; they use the PressReader app and website to host their digital print replicas. It’s also only accessible on PressReader if you pay The New York Times directly, which is somewhat strange.
The Digital Opinion Section
While the print version has an opinion section, so does the WSJ’s website. Many of the opinion pieces on the website are available the next day in the print edition. The WSJ enables comments on some of their articles, including the opinion pieces. I try not to comment on the website much, mostly because I’m only fueling the fire with my differing opinions. It is kind of interesting to watch and see which opinion pieces get the print-edition treatment the next day and which ones don’t.
I Ditched The Print Edition
Last week, I altered my subscription to The WSJ to only have access to the digital editions. I still use the digital print edition sometimes, but I’m working on getting better at reading it in the website format. Reading the print edition does feel like I’m reading yesterday’s news; many of the articles in it are published online the day before. Ditching the print edition of the WSJ has also cut my monthly subscription price in half. The layout of wsj.com is also quite nice and easy to read. So far, I’m staying pretty caught up on business news. For art, culture, and social news, I need The NYT.
A few weeks ago, I subscribed to The NYT digital and Sunday-print editions. I did this partly because I wanted to write a review of The Wall Street Journal and wanted to give it a fair comparison. The other part of me just wanted to read something I agreed with a little bit.
I can read the NYT’s digital print replicas every day of the week, access The NYT online, and I get the physical Sunday-print edition at my door every Sunday. I choose to not have the Monday-Saturday editions delivered to my door, but having the Sunday edition of The NYT in print does help me keep track of interesting things I may have missed in liberal politics, art, and culture. Again, the WSJ is great for business news, and for hearing the differing points of view on politics. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired in art and culture content.
Do You Read Newspapers?
What news do you read/watch? How do you handle differing points of view? Let me know in the comments. Hopefully you found my review of The Wall Street Journal a little interesting; I know it’s a little bit of a departure from my usual blog content about my fiction collection, reading The Goldfinch for five years, complaining about bad dates, and other random things. I’m trying to blog about more useful things these days. I’ll continue to experiment with reading the news; I may even review The New York Times next. We’ll see if I’m still reading newspapers (or news-sites) this time next year. Hopefully I’ll at least be finished with my MBA program.