By: Joe Strupp
Marcus Brauchli, who will become the top editor at The Wall Street Journal next month, said the newspaper industry can thrive if it looks beyond the declining circulation of print dailies and expands in other areas, as the Journal has done and will continue to do.
“There is excessive moroseness and pessimism in the newspaper industry,” Brauchli told E&P a day after he was tapped to become the Journal’s new managing editor. “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.”
Brauchli, 45, will replace Paul Steiger on May 15. Steiger, managing editor since 1991, will retire under the company’s mandatory age 65 retirement policy. A veteran Journal reporter and editor, Brauchli spent 15 years in foreign bureaus before returning for several editing assignments in New York in 1999.
Declining to offer specifics about any changes he plans in the top post, Brauchli said the Journal would continue to focus on a mix of foreign and business news, along with utilizing both the print paper and other non-print.
“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,” Brauchli said when asked if the paper would continue to staff its foreign bureaus as heavily as before while other news outlets are cutting back. “We are absolutely committed to having strong global business coverage.”
A veteran overseas journalist who has 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.”
Brauchli, who was heavily involved in the Journal’s recent redesign, pointed to the need to continue expanding the paper’s non-print areas, such as the Web, mobile alerts and increasing areas of information. He said the print daily “has always had a strong position” and it “is still very much the flagship.”
But, he adds, “we view the franchise in its entirety. What we are looking for is to develop and serve our readers as best we can.” The Web site, the only paid site of a major daily paper “is much more about the driving news of the moment.”