Monday, September 15, 2008

New Launching Tomorrow Set to Include Social Features

The venerable Wall Street Journal will activate a revamped version of its Web site,, early Tuesday morning. The new site isn’t a lot different from the old one, based on screenshots and other details Journal executives shared with me last week. It has a cleaner, more inviting look, thanks to fewer ads and the elimination of the navigation buttons on the left side of the home page. Unchanged is the most important aspect of the current site: the wall that blocks non-subscribers from reading most of The Journal’s business news articles. However, one aspect of the redesign is radical, and if it’s successful, it could provide lessons for other news organizations trying to build deeper connections with their readers: New community features will allow’s million or so paid online subscribers to comment on every story, pose their own discussion questions, e-mail each other and set up profiles that will allow others to see what they’re doing on the site. In other words, will offer a social network for business professionals, built around the content of the newspaper and Web site but not limited to it. It’s what the Journal’s advertising side likes to call “a clean, well-lit place” where its readers can talk with like-minded souls about everything from the Lehman meltdown to the best business-class hotels in Shanghai.

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