NYU hosts lecture for Wall Street Journal editorPosted on September 25, 2013 | by Amy Aixi Zhang
The two dozen audience members gathered in the conference room of 20 Cooper Square were given a peek at how America’s most revered business newspaper was adjusting to a changing landscape.
During an event at NYU’s journalism school, Dow Jones editor-in-chief Gerard Baker discussed a need for editors and reporters at The Wall Street Journal to refocus their coverage in an age of new media.
Baker, who also serves as the managing editor of the The Wall Street Journal, said the increased pressure from consumers for real-time news paired with rapidly diminishing revenues means news organizations are getting “squeezed.” Quality business journalism was becoming harder to sustain, and therefore more craved. But these trends, he said, actually represent an opportunity and not a hurdle.
“The need of businesses, of investors, of consumers, of journalists, of governments, of everybody for … high quality information they can trust is greater than ever,” Baker said. “Good business journalism can thrive in that environment.”
To create “good business journalism,” Baker said journalists must internalize five basic principles — truth, speed, independence, pursuit of accountability and creativity. Objectivity and facts are always most important, but Baker said one measure of success for The Journal was the number of articles it published each week before its competitors.
Baker noted that in the aftermath of the financial crisis, governments started playing a larger role in the business world. The automatic inclination of journalists to perceive businesses as offenders and governments as virtuous regulators needed to change, he said.
“Too many business journalists see in black-and-white terms,” Baker said. “We need to be a bit more skeptical, more balanced.”
As consumption moved to platforms like tablets and phones, Baker said journalists needed to remain innovative and continue to find creative ways to present the news.
To current journalism students, Baker said there were no specific prerequisites for a business journalism position at The Wall Street Journal. Training for reporters to learn new terms or concepts was provided by the paper.
“If you’ve got the talents of being a reporter, you’d be a great business reporter,” he said.
For Jessica Dean, a CAS junior aspiring to work at The Journal, Baker’s speech fueled her ambitions.
“I felt I could be a great business journalism reporter,” Dean said. “Now that I know the industry isn’t dying, my mind is set.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 25 print edition. Amy Zhang is blog editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.