Diese Veranstaltung fand statt am Mittwoch 4 Februar 2015.
Gorkana meets Stephen Fidler, Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires in Brussels
Stephen Fidler has been Brussels Editor of The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires since October 2009. He runs a bureau of 10 journalists and leads coverage from Brussels of the European Union and the euro zone as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He writes a regular column and was part of a team of Journal reporters named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for their reporting on the euro-zone debt crisis. Before joining the Journal in London in March 2009, he spent 22 years with the Financial Times in senior roles, including international capital markets editor, Latin America Editor, defense and security editor, and U.S. diplomatic editor. In the latter role, he was based in Washington DC. He spent almost a decade as a correspondent for Reuters in London, New York and the Middle East. His first job in journalism was with a group of English newspapers in his native Lincolnshire. He holds a degree in economics from London University, and was formerly a senior consulting fellow for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
It is now just over 1 year since the new reorganisation of the WSJ/Dow Jones across Europe. How is it working?
• Dow Jones and WSJ used to be two separate organisations:
• Dow Jones: a wire service that originally had a strong focus on the stock market in the US, which in recent decades became more international
• WSJ: a major business publication
• When I joined in 2009, the two groups (Dow Jones and WSJ) had very different cultures and hardly cooperated:
• Dow Jones: focus on getting stories out as quickly as possible
• WSJ: traditional written journalism with a focus on the U.S. print edition at the end of the day.
• Nowadays, there is hardly any difference in the Brussels bureau, where journalists are expected to think about both the wire and the WSJ.
• The integration enables us to cover more ground, and provides a good fit with the requirements of digital journalism.
How are the WSJ and the Dow Jones Newswire interlinked on a daily basis (journalists always working for both, WSJ based on the news from the Newswire…?)
• If a major story breaks, we take a few quick headlines to get them out on the wire and then we start building the story out with more background information and investigations for WSJ.Com; we will build in analysis and seek responses from companies, governments and people mentioned in the story
• Assessment toward the end of the day: There is sometimes a decision in New York that we need further changes or if we need to take a more analytical approach for print. We also decide if we want to publish this particular story in the print version the next day
Who do you liaise with?
• The establishment of a strong desk operation in London has meant we get to grips with stories earlier in the day, but New York’s view is also significant. There is also a desk in Hong Kong so we are operating through the time zones.
• We distinguish between wires, online and print at the desks: In each centre there is a real time desk focused on wires, one looking to make sure we have the right story on line and some dedicated print people.
• more devolution: WSJ in London and in Brussels is now more entrepreneurial; we don't have to wait for New York to get back to us regarding European stories
Can you tell us a little bit more about the readership. Have you seen an increase in digital subscription?
• people are migrating: print readers tend to be older and web readers younger
• we have a significant online subscriber base
• model: some stories are free, some stories are behind the pay wall
• pay wall: There are no hard and fast rules but stories that are important for business readership are more likely to be behind the paywall; lifestyle, sport and other lighter topics slightly less likely to be behind the wall
• We have a stronger focus on multimedia: videos, graphics, statistics and how to illustrate a story behind the printed word in order to engage the readers more. Even on our Real Time Brussels blog, we’ve realised that with a picture we get more readers.
Who are your main competitors?
• in the US: the New York Times
• in Europe: it’s more the Financial Times
• The FT retains its strong traditional audience in the EU institutions, but the WSJ has more people and probably more coverage
• the American publication Politico, which will create a European edition in Brussels later this year with 30-40 people could change the landscape: They have a model which aims for a general political audience online and in print, and specialist subscriber online newsletters in specific policy areas.
What does a typical day look like? How does your team work?
• We check emails for overnight communications from New York, the competition and Twitter
• 9.45 am: news meeting in London: we try to send as much information as possible about what we’re planning for the current day
• We have to strategise about the timing and consider where and when stories will get the maximum audience
• There are different patterns on the readership: we try to publish information accordingly (in the morning; at lunchtime in Europe etc.) so that stories maximise their audience
• Like any major news organization, we are after big news and scoops, but we never ambush those we are writing about
• We try to tell stories: we have a strong reporting culture, typical of major US newspapers, and not so evident in the UK
• We write a lot in Brussels on policy: sometimes it’s difficult to make this fascinating, but we try to explain why it’s important
• WSJ: it is very well researched and reported. Unlike other European papers, we’re not taking a national angle on events here
• To some extent it might feel American (for example the spelling) but it is not an American take
• we have a global audience and the future growth is going to be online. But print is still important to us.
How do you like to hear from PRs? What kind of stories are you interested in?
• I prefer to be approached by email
• There are areas inevitably that we don’t cover sufficiently
• We try to be flexible, not to get stuck in silos, and to cover a wide range of topics
• The main topics at the moment are trade, energy, policy, banking union, competition, technology, privacy, data protection, financial regulation
How is your work in Brussels different from the work in the UK?
• it is a broader story than in the UK and it is an important place for policy
• more variety than in London: in London they cover mainly finance and politics, they are less focused on policy topics
How do you deal with rumours?
• We almost always need 2 sources for significant developments. That slows us down on some occasions
• It is very important that the story is right
How do you track developments of regulations?
• It is very difficult to know when to write about it since the legislative process is so extended.
• It is important to have a bureau in Brussels to understand it
• the lobbying industry in Brussels: important topic but difficult to cover it
• Greece and the Euro
• the overall state of Euro Zone (deflation, ECB actions)
• relationship between Russia and the Ukraine (sanctions and regulations; are we going to reach a steady state?)
• digital space (e.g. data protection)
Baker & McKenzie CVBA/SCRL
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