News Corp aims to double subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal
to 5.5 million in the next few years and assigned a team of editors to devise a plan to do so. The first part of that plan,
which The New York Times
posted online last week, outlined the
of keeping subscribers and urging them to visit its website, as noted yesterday.
The remainder of the 209-page report offers suggestions on how the paper should make its
online content more engaging and expand its audience. Those recommendations include covering topics that reflect the interests of women and younger readers who are more multi-ethnic than the
WSJ's core readership.
WSJ management hasn't formally shared the report with its newsroom or implemented its suggestions, as the NYT notes. However, publishers
should read it and think about their own growth strategies as the economy recovers from the pandemic, which triggered significant shifts in media consumption.
A key area for
improvement is listening to audiences
the paper has targeted for growth, and ensuring stories address their needs
with specific questions they have. The WSJ
recommends that news teams monitor tools like Google Trends and Google Suggestions to help identify topics that deserve greater coverage.
“When the audience doesn't come to us with insights, we need to go to them and consider having reporters go into communities we want to reach on social media," the report says.
"Once there, we should listen, learn who the top influencers are and learn the language and culture of the community.”
As for coverage, the WSJ sees a need to
expand beyond topics favored by heavy readers and "instead prioritize engaging with lighter-reading and new audiences." Much of the report details specific areas of coverage, such as doing fewer
stories about sports, foreign carmakers, quarterly earnings -- and perhaps media and marketing. In some cases, it needs to make stories easier to find on search engines -- such as its tech
The report also sees a need to evaluate and commission stories that would interest a diverse audience.
“We should consider how
different audiences, whether by gender, race, sexual orientation or age, see themselves in our coverage," the report says. "We should create or expand beats around topics that matter to diverse
Topics that over-index to these target audiences include environment, career, consumer products, drug addiction, racism, affordability of health care, income
inequality and violent crime, according to its analysis.
In presenting the news, the WSJ report sees digital platforms and content that's optimized for mobile devices
as an area for improvement. Those efforts include better video engagement through search and sharpening its graphics.
“Many of our stories are missing a macro-level
overview. We need to inform our audience of a story's consequences and the impact it has on the world and in our lives,” the report notes.