By Kyle Austin
I pinged James Ledbetter, formerly managing deputy editor of CNNMoney.com and current editor of TheBigMoney.com (Slate’s new business news site), last night to point out the luck he had in launching on one of the wildest days in Wall Street’s history. Sure, some may think its launch was lost in the madness, but the truth is, it wasn’t. Its launch was covered in the Times, the AP and Gawker to name a few. In addition, national attention to the financial market and specifically Wall Street brings hunger from financial regulars hungry for a new angle and outsiders eager to find some prospective.
In some of these earlier interviews, Ledbetter the need he sees for a business / financial destination for the “Facebook Set.” A demographic that they hope to tackle with interactive features including “YouTube Brand Watch” and “We Build Your Presentation.” Well today, one day after the launch of TheBigMoney.com, the WSJ.com relaunched in the the midst of the financial meltdown with features that appear to be aimed at the “Facebook Set” as well.
The sleek new look, which is the first redesign since 2002, has the site feeling more Fortune or Forbes-esque (i.e. more glossy). Perhaps those responsible for the new WSJ, had something say? However, the big additions are the new interactive features like the Newsreel widget, which can be brought to third-party sites like Facebook (I easily put on my profile in a few minutes), WordPress, Myspace, etc.
However, for PR folks and media watchers like myself, the “Journal Community” is the big new interactive feature. The community allows “subscribers” to interact in topic-based networks, comment on articles and ask questions directly to the editorial team. This isn’t groundbreaking as Fast Company overhauled its entire online site into a social community earlier this year and BusinessWeek is using a similar strategy around specific topics and reader feedback. However for the major business daily in the country to do this – it is a big deal.
There are also additional editorial opportunities online with the relaunch. The WSJ.com will spotlight additional management trends, ideas and advice through its new Management section. The section will be multimedia friendly with podcasts and video segments. They’ve also created a “Journal Women” section that will look at the trends and issues specifically effecting top women executives in the workforce.
The goal here is really to make money, by spiking engagement numbers and leveraging those with advertisers. However, the new features need to be reader-friendly first to accomplish that. In my first trip around the new site, I think Rupert and the WSJ.com may be well on their way.