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Wall St. Journal Really Doesn’t Get Online



Yesterday I got a friendly little email from the Wall St. Journal asking me to take a survey about how I read and use news. I thought I’d give it a go and I did. Low and behold the question in the picture accompanying this post popped up, and the range of choices offered also popped up in several other questions as well. Go ahead, take a look at the picture and see if you think this is a bit screwy as I did.

OK, you’re back. Here’s the thing. The Wall St. Journal is a part of media baron Rupert Murdoch’s empire. Mr. Murdoch is famous (infamous) for railing against the Internet for stealing his content and chopping off profits from his bottom line. I’ve never understood his being upset completely, because if you follow a link from Google or any site, you’re basically going to the WSJ page to read the content anyway. The way I see it, Murdoch and his minions have to take some responsibility for not figuring out how to monetize that traffic.

But then this survey pops up, and I guess it shows just how clueless the Murdoch empire is. I mean, let’s get real here. A mobile device is not a source. It’s a tool to get to the source. At least it is in my book. And mobile devices use the online sources (another choice in the answers) to bring you that news. I’m guessing they are trying to make a distinction between mobile devices (handhelds) and other computing platforms, but it strikes me that they could have at least showed some better knowledge here if they really cared about substantive survey results.



  1. ChrisRS

    04/15/2010 at 2:40 pm

    Warner, I think they understand this better than your think. After all, they do not even include trditional print media like newspapers or magazines. :) Apparently they know that they are not on the list.

    Seriously, while they were not very artful in the question about mobile devices as news sources, I think a lot of people make the same mistake. They will go to their phone rather than their computer – to the point that they almost forget it the same information/source.

  2. Warner Crocker

    04/15/2010 at 4:27 pm

    Actually there were quite a few questions on print media choices, but they seemed to keep print and digital completely separate if I’m remembering correctly.

  3. Levo

    04/15/2010 at 6:02 pm

    Interesting post. The question asked by the WSJ folks is telling. As is their inane pricing for content on the iPad and other devices. See here:

    The key data from this post are:

    What are the various pricing schemes for the Wall Street Journal?

    ~$20 a month for WSJ newspaper ( $249/12 months via Amazon)

    ~$18 a month for WSJ newspaper + online ($2.99/week, annual subscription)

    $17.99 a month for the iPad (per the AFP article)

    $14.99 a month for Kindle (per the AFP article)

    ~$11 a month for WSJ newspaper + online ($2.69/week, introductory pricing, annual subscription)

    ~$10 a month for WSJ newspaper (print, $2.29/week, introductory pricing, annual subscription)

    ~$10 a month for WSJ newspaper (print, $2.29/week, annual subscription)

    ~$8 a month on the iPhone, iPodTouch and BlackBerry ($2/week)

    ~$8 a month for online-only ($1.99/week, introductory pricing, annual subscription)

    ~$8 a month for online-only ($1.99/week, annual subscription)

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