By: Joe Strupp
If Managing Editor Marcus Brauchli had been contemplating leaving The Wall Street Journal for several weeks, or had known he might be on the verge of being pushed out, he didn?t show it at a launch breakfast for the paper’s new high-end magazine, WSJ, just 12 days ago.
But he was reluctant to speak about his first year at the helm while promoting the paper’s future. That could have just been a sign of the subdued manner he often presents.
Gladly joining WSJ Editor Tina Gaudoin and Dow Jones Consumer Media Group Senior Vice President Michael Rooney at the April 10 event, Brauchli was all company man, spouting the paper’s top-spending readership, welcoming the new publication into the Journal family, and praising the need for the Saturday paper.
“The launch of ‘WSJ’ represents the most important leap of the Journal and its brand in a long time,” Brauchli said at the event. He even joked about Gaudoin, a well-known British editor and creator of Europe’s largest yoga center: “We are hoping she can bring some Zen to the newsroom of The Wall Street Journal.”
On the new magazine: “We thought there was a need for it and a space, our audience would benefit by it.”
But, when asked by E&P about life after one year at the helm, Brauchli declined to comment, saying only that the paper had made positive changes.
“We have been extending our coverage gradually in the fields of politics, general news and we aim to do more. The Journal has been getting stronger,” he told E&P at the event. “We have been more about change. We have managed to make changes that have been well-received by readers and balanced against the need to preserve the institution and the quality of the paper our readers have come to expect.”
Pressed further to look back on the busy year that has included his takeover of the newsroom from longtime former managing editor Paul Steiger, the purchase of Dow Jones by News Corp., and big business stories such as the housing credit collapse, Brauchli asked to wait for several weeks until he reached a one-year anniversary in May.
Such views were more subdued from those Brauchli offered after being named top editor in April 2007. At that time, he planned to boost Web offerings and said the industry needed to break out of an “excessive moroseness.”
“People are very focused on newspapers, but not as entities of information. We are news organizations, we deliver news and information to our readers through myriad channels. In an information age, it is particularly clear that people who provide valuable information and content should flourish,” he said at the time. “Clearly, there is less and less distinction between foreign and business. There is no one in business who isn’t concerned with shaping the world economy. We are absolutely committed to having strong global business coverage.”??
A veteran overseas journalist who had served in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, Brauchli stressed the need to combine the foreign and business approaches. “It is impossible to imagine having a strong business news product without a strong business news dimension,” he said. “The overseas dimension to business is enormous, but that isn’t all we are going to be doing.”??
He added, “we view the franchise in its entirety. What we are looking for is to develop and serve our readers as best we can.”