Media: Wall Street Journal Europe: An expert’s view - The redesigned Wall Street Journal Europe pleases an old fan like Dominic Mills

All right, I’ll admit it: I was one of the few people who liked the old-style Wall Street Journal. It may have been austere, po-faced, picture-free, text heavy, monochromatic and, at times, downright forbidding, but I was a fan. It was as if the paper was saying: ’You want to read this paper? Then show us you’re tough enough.’

All right, I’ll admit it: I was one of the few people who liked the

old-style Wall Street Journal. It may have been austere, po-faced,

picture-free, text heavy, monochromatic and, at times, downright

forbidding, but I was a fan. It was as if the paper was saying: ’You

want to read this paper? Then show us you’re tough enough.’



It took a lot of getting used to but eventually repaid the effort, even

if, navigationally, it sometimes played nasty tricks on you. The

writing, particularly in long analysis pieces, was always clean,

incisive and, if you wanted to know about corporate America, there was

nowhere else to go. It could be fun. Behind the serious look lurked a

mischievous sense of humour. It once ran a feature on why Norway always

scored zero in the Eurovision Song Contest.



So it was with some nervousness that, last week, I picked up the

new-look WSJ Europe. For a start, there’s colour in the form of a nice

blue masthead. Gone are the serried ranks of single-column stories which

made it impossible to tell which was the splash and which the colour

piece.



Instead, there’s a clearer hierarchy and even some variety in the column

widths. In comes a home page-style navigation bar across the top. And,

shock horror, there are even some photos, and they’re not in mono.



Cosmetic changes aside (and the paper is still austere by European

standards), the main difference is the addition of a third section,

Networking, billed as providing a focus on the new economy. In fact,

it’s a bit of an awkard hybrid, combining e-related news stories with

analysis-led pieces on the softer skills such as marketing and

management.



The new look is part of an ambitious plan to double the paper’s

circulation in the next five years to 150,000-plus. Seeing as

circulation rose 17 per cent last year, I’d say the prevailing wind was

in the Journal’s favour.



Dominic Mills is the editorial director of Haymarket Business

Publications



Publisher Wall Street Journal

Ad rate full-page mono dollars 32,483

Circulation 82,597 (July-Dec 99)

Cover price pounds 1

Advertisers include Invensys, Hewlett-Packard, Siemens



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