Less is…

I’m at the Wall Street Journal’s announcement of its new, narrower size and I can’t quite believe the coverage that lopping off three inches is getting. One reporter for another august business section jsut said to the reporters for another that they were probably all here checking out the competition. But there are also 10 TV cameras in the back. Maybe it’s the breakfast.

What’s the big deal? Not sure there is one. They certainly want to make it a big deal though, unveiling a giant version of the new front page to musical accompaniment in the Morgan Library. Gordon Crovitz, publisher of the print and online businesses, says that they are the “first to rethink what a newspaper should be in this era.” He says that others are trying to be platform-agnostic but not them. He sasy there will be more headlines with “will and why.”

The paper is trying desperately to keep the value in the paper. They’re not alone. When the Guardian, Times, and Independent went to smaller formats in London, they tried to add value as they took away paper. The Guardian invested 80 million pounds on its presses. But the Guardian also acknowledges that it is forestalling the likely death of print while pushing the paper’s journalism to the new world.

I am media-agnostic. I don’t read the Journal in print — ever. I read it online. And I don’t necessarily want different things there; I want more there. The proof in that pudding is how the Journal does in its task force, which Crovitz heads, to bring together the Journal’s journalism in all its media. I spoke with him before the fest and he said that they are reducing the duplication that having reporters work in various media has brought and they are trying to increase the depth in the paper. That helps them internally. For us, the former audience, I think there is danger in continuing to separate journalism by medium — and to promote one medium separately.