Cornerstone Conversation: The Evolution of Media at The Wall Street Journal

By Sarah Ng

The Wall Street Journal is a major publication for business insights and financial news, serving its multi-platform audience with unique approaches. Different platforms require their own pathways to deliver ideas – whether that’s the latest corporate coverage in the Business section or hearing new analysis on ‘The Journal.’ podcast.  

At NYWICI’s Cornerstone Conversation on October 17, 2022, WSJ’s Jamie Heller, Business Editor, and Annie Minoff, Senior Producer, spoke at Spotify’s headquarters with moderator Dustee Jenkins. They discussed the company’s evolving reporting styles and gave behind-the-scenes info about story selection. 

What sets WSJ and its podcast apart:

“We look at the world through a lens of money, business, economics, and finance… let’s say we’re covering sports, or covering a hurricane, or we’re covering the midterm elections. We are going to be savvy about business and finance in everything we do,” said Jamie. “Money is a huge driver of human nature.” 

She adds, “We are very, very committed to objective, fact-based reporting.”

On top of the influential lens of finance through WSJ’s homepage and app, the publication also offers a podcast. “People can work us into their lives,” said Annie. “We go in-depth on one news story for about 15 minutes every day, drawing on the amazing work our colleagues do in The Wall Street Journal newsroom with Jamie.”

What makes it to the front page:

It’s based on what the editor thinks is important for readers, with 5 to 6 stories on the front. Then 3 to 4 are “extras” based on what is happening that day with newsworthiness. The stories are mixed on the front page and vary in topics and tones. Jamie says that the aim is to think “full package” and highlight different stories for both print and digital.

What becomes a podcast episode:

Besides topics that are gaining attention from the community that need to be done quickly, Annie said the podcast is looking for stories that are “meaty, have action and have characters which lend themselves to narrative storytelling.” These stories give listeners more context on the pressing stories of the day.  

How WSJ is keeping up with evolving media trends:

A new desk called “Speed and Trending” jumps on new stories that are breaking. Jamie stated that it’s important for a story to be strong and published in a timely manner in order to get picked up by Google search better.

When it comes to starting a podcast, do not underestimate the process due to the seemingly low barrier to entry. Annie explained how time, expertise from the technical and reporting sides, and going out to get the needed voices for the stories are crucial to the podcast’s success. 

What it’s like working at WSJ:

“It’s been the dream job of my life. Covering the pandemic was an incredibly dramatic experience, and I hope to be here another 20 years,” said Jamie. 

Annie said, “Showing [reporters’] amazing work they’ve already done on a platform and making it work for audio is one of the most gratifying parts of my job.” 

Thanks to Jamie Heller and Annie Minoff for joining us! You can listen to all the episodes of NYWICI’s WomenHeard podcast here.


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