Why I Get More Than 1 Paper, Medicare Edition

I am doing my part to keep the print-newspaper business going. And you should too!

Here is the lineup on the breakfast table this morning. (And, yes, before you ask, that is a batik cloth in the background, from the old days in Indonesia.)


Overall front-page lead story in the WaPo: "Medicare's future appears brighter".

#2 off-lead front page story in the NYT: "Report Shows Better Outlook for Medicare".

Mentions of that story anywhere on the front page of the WSJ, including the news-briefs column: zero.

The new Medicare assessment does make a cameo appearance at the bottom of page 5 (see right). Instead the WSJ devotes its featured front-page space to whether the IRS is doing more inspections of Republicans, and the plush life of modern Washington. Plus a very good (really) story, in the tradition of the old WSJ "A-hed" front-page features, on the modern high-tech sock-knitting industry.

Homework assignment: as we have seen before, there is a testable hypothesis to apply to the evolution of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Hypothesis: Under the ownership of Rupert Murdoch and the editorship of Robert Thomson*, the Journal has deliberately been bringing its news operations into closer alignment with its editorial-page views.
  • Sub-hypothesis: You don't see this shift in the line-by-line content of the stories themselves but rather in the headlines, subheads, and placement of the stories in the paper. That is, we're looking at editors' work rather than reporters'.

Being hypotheses, these are subject to testing and disproof. The experiment goes on.

* Thomson took broader News Corp editorial responsibilities this year; Gerard Baker is his successor as WSJ managing editor.