Sep 182008

Rupert Murdoch may be saving me a lot of money by ruining the Wall Street Journal. We’ll see if it’s still worth having when it comes time to re-subscribe.

This week his people increased the damage to the web edition by making it look more like a blog. And the fonts are now a lot harder to deal with. By the time I increase the font size to a point where it’s comfortable to read, I’ve also increased the white space so that not very many words fit on a page. That means I have to scroll more, which slows down reading. It may soon not be worth it.

In the new web design, the editorials, which are the main thing that still make the paper worth the money, are less conspicuous. They seem to have been demoted. They don’t get a sub-headline like the other articles do. Why Murdoch would do something like that to the best editorial section in the industry is hard to understand, though it’s easy to understand why the WSJ editorial page’s enemies (of whom there are many) woud like what he’s doing.

There are many points on which to criticize the Murdochization of the paper, but here’s one that makes the paper cry out to the world, “Look at me! I’m a trashy tabloid!”


This is the photo that accompanies an article about Putin in the web edition. There are a lot of reasons not to like Putin, but what’s the purpose of picking an anxious-sinister-looking photo taken at an angle like that. That’s not a photo Putin would pick of himself, and it doesn’t speak well for the Murdochizers that they would find it necessary to try to sway people by portraying him that way. Putin at his best is a fine looking guy. That doesn’t mean he isn’t an evil person, but the paper should let his words and actions speak for themselves. We don’t need editorializing-through-photos.

The print edition of today’s paper was more responsible, printing the type of photo that might have appeared in pre-Murdoch days:


It’s not the best photo of Putin I’ve ever seen, but at least it’s more neutral, editorially. We’ll see how long the print edition is allowed to be honest enough to print photos like that.