WSJ to Ramp up its Enterprise Coverage with “Immersive Storytelling”

The Wall Street Journal plans to ramp up its enterprise coverage with several appointments that “will strengthen our investigation team, enhance our data-reporting resources and advance push into immersive story-telling so that we can broaden and extend our storytelling capacity in the emerging digital era,” Managing editor Gerard Baker wrote in a memo published online.

Mike Siconolfi has been named investigations editor and his team will include an “enhanced data journalism effort that will be led by Tom McGinty and Rob Barry,” reported. According to Baker, “Expanding our data reporting capability in a data-rich age is a priority, and Tom and Rob and their team will be working with all of you to deepen our data literacy.” Additionally, Mike Allen has been named assistant managing editor of enterprise projects, wherein he will be using new tools available online to help story-tellers in a digital age, while opening up many new pathways that inform and delight readers.

John Crowley, digital editor The Wall Street Journal, shared tips for immersive storytelling at News: Rewired Digital Journalism Conference, shares those with its readers. According to Crowley, “One of the biggest challenges for any newsroom is that journalists are at different stages of digital development, with some already thinking in terms of large interactive projects while others are not even using Twitter. However, data visualisation can sometimes be the starting point for a story as was the case with the WSJ’s immersive piece on GoldenDawn, a far-right political party in Greece. People talk about digital first, but this was data journalism first.”

To encourage opportunities for immersive storytelling, journalists must begin to think about storytelling in a different way. “What we said to our reporters is ‘don’t worry how it’s going to look’ – you send us the idea and we’ll think of ways of using multimedia”. Crowley finally added that immersive storytelling was only really worthwhile for those stories which do not have “a short shelf-life”.

A more robust digital mandate has been emphasized by Baker for The Journal in 2014. These moves mirror efforts on the same lines, by its competitor – The New York Times, which is in the process of creating a new data journalism offering and has won several accolades for immersive journalism efforts with projects such as “Snow Fall”.

The blogpost on states that the group will be “tasked with producing more and more frequent investigations of news events, developing revelatory running enterprise stories and executing ambitious projects.” It will also be responsible for deepening “the investigative and data skills of the entire staff.” The push for more data-driven journalism comes amid growing competition between analytical news sites across the industry.

By: Savita V Jayaram
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