Beyond the story lines about Murdoch and the Bancroft family, and Marcus Brauchli and Robert Thomson, Sarah Ellison’s “War at the Wall Street Journal” has an interesting story line about what had made the Journal unique before the takeover and about a newspaper trying to adapt to the Internet.
About being a "second read" paper
The notion that the Journal could be a second read, famously espoused by the legendary midcentury Journal editor Barney Kilgore, was no more. No one had time to read two publications. And anyway, Murdoch didn't want to be second at anything. As smaller papers around the country faltered, Murdoch wanted to pick off their readers.
– War at the Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Ellison. page 199
About "Journal 3.0"
[Publisher Gordon] Crovitz decided he would call the new iteration of the newspaper "Journal 3.0." He arrived at the name &em; never popular in the Journal's newsroom or executive floor &em; by taking particular note of the Journal's lead front-page story the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor: "War with Japan Means Industrial Revolution in the United State" read the headline. The story outlined the implications of the attack on the country's economy, industry, and financial markets. For Crovitz, it also marked the end of the first phase of the Journal &em; "Journal 1.0," the time between the paper's founding in 1889 and December 5, 1941. During that period, the Journal reported the news like any other outlet. After that headline and under Bernard Kilgore, who became the paper's managing editor the year of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Journal started adding more analysis to its stories and expanded its coverage beyond business and finance. Crovitz defined "Journal 2.0" as starting on December 8, 1941. He planned for it to end of December 31, 2006, when he would usher in the paper's third phase.To compete against the immediacy of the Web, Crovitz wanted the paper, instead of running stories that rehashed what people had learned the day before on their BlackBerrys, to become more analytical. Journal reporters would break news on the Web site and then examine it in the next day's paper.
– War at the Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Ellison. page 51
About the morning news meeting
Following the Journal's tradition, the editors wouldn't talk about the biggest news of the day. Unlike every other newspaper in every jurisdiction of every country in the world, the Wall Street Journal didn't put news on its front page. The paper relegated the biggest news stories to the inside of the paper, on page A3. Epic features and investigations for Page One were mapped out weeks if not months in advance. Because of this Journal peculiarity, the morning news meeting was not a frenetic debate about the most disastrous or dramatic news events, but rather a mannered recitation of the day's "sked" of stories. In a business of attention-grabbing headlines and color photos, the paper treated its front page like a quiet haven for reflective storytelling. Breaking news was important, and the paper did plenty of it, but the craft of feature writing was the center of the paper's identity.
– War at the Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Ellison. page 48
About "the pack"
[Murdoch] wanted the Journal to lead the media pack. It was antithetical to the Journal ethos. "Even if you're leading the pack, you're still part of the pack," Peter Kann, the Journal's former CEO, liked to say. "If there's something everyone is talking about, that should be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal," Murdoch told his aides.
– War at the Wall Street Journal, by Sarah Ellison. page 170