The Wall Street Journal (appearing with a period on the masthead) is an influential international daily newspaper published in New York City, New York with a worldwide average daily circulation of more than 2.6 million as of 2005. For many years, it had the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, although it is currently second to USA Today with the Journal having a US circulation of 1.8 million. It is owned by Dow Jones & Company.
Nicknamed "The Journal," this newspaper primarily covers U.S. and international business and financial news and issues—the paper's name comes from Wall Street, the street in New York City which is the heart of the business district. It has been printed continuously since its founding on July 8, 1889 by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser . The newspaper has won the Pulitzer Prize twenty-nine times, including the 2003 and 2004 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism.
The Journal boasts a readership profile of about 60% top management, an average income of $191,000, an average household net worth of $2.1 million, and an average age of 55.
The paper uses ink dot drawings called hedcuts rather than photographs, a practice unique among major newspapers.
A complement to the print Journal, the Online Journal is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web — with 712,000 paid subscribers as of the fourth quarter of 2004.
The Journal features several distinct sections:
- Section One – features U.S. and international corporate news, as well as political and economic reporting
- Marketplace – includes coverage of health, technology, media, and marketing industries (the second section was launched June 23, 1980)
- Money and Investing – covers and analyzes international financial markets (the third section was launched October 3, 1988)
- Personal Journal – published Tuesday-Thursday, this section covers personal investments, careers and cultural pursuits (the personal section was introduced April 9, 2002)
- Weekend Journal – published Fridays, explores personal interests of business readers, including real estate, travel, and sports (the weekend section was introduced March 20, 1998)
On average, The Journal is about 96 pages long. For the year 2004, the inclusion of 45 additional Special Reports is planned.
The position of the editorial opinion and op-ed sections is typically conservative. The editorial page commonly publishes pieces by U.S. and world leaders in government, politics and business. The Journal won its first two Pulitzer Prizes for its editorial writing, in 1947 and 1953. The Journal describes the history of its editorials thus:
- They are united by the mantra "free markets and free people," the principles, if you will, marked in the watershed year of 1776 by Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." So over the past century and into the next, the Journal stands for free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities. If these principles sound unexceptionable in theory, applying them to current issues is often unfashionable and controversial.
Its historical position was much the same, and spelled out the conservative foundation of its editorial page:
- On our editorial page, we make no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view. We believe in the individual, his wisdom and his decency. We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether they stem from attempts at private monopoly, labor-union monopoly or from an overgrowing government. People will say we are conservative or even reactionary. We are not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical. —William H. Grimes , 1951
The Journal offers a free online sampling of its editorial page, OpinionJournal.com.
In the 1980s, the Journal's reporter James Stewart brought national attention to the illegal practice of insider trading, winning the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory journalism in 1988 for such stories. He expanded on this theme in his book, Den of Thieves.
In 2001, the Journal was ahead of most of the journalistic pack in appreciating the importance of the accounting abuses at Enron, and two of its reporters in particular, Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller, played a crucial role in bringing these abuses to light.