The Wall Street Journal Review 2020: Is It Worth It?

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Because there are more places to get your business, finance, and general news than ever before, you may even wonder, “Is The Wall Street Journal worth it?” 

Even though paper options may be fewer, digital choices are abundant. Some of these are more reliable and engaging than others.

The digital version of The Wall Street Journal is one option many working professionals, investors, business owners, and others consider as a go-to source for news. 

Writers, especially nonfiction writers who are constantly researching their topics, can benefit from having access to a useful resource. 

When you learn more about the digital version of The Wall Street Journal, you’ll find out whether subscribing offers value for money.

What Is The Wall Street Journal?

The Wall Street Journal is known for award-winning news coverage, business, and finance information – a more in-depth look at economics than most other newspapers, and its editorial section (which has always been considered separate from the other sections). 

Additionally, the newspaper covers many other topics as varied as science, technology, health, politics, luxury living, and more. 

As of 2020, The Wall Street Journal has won 37 Pulitzer Prizes for its reporting.

History of The Wall Street Journal

Founded by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser, The Wall Street Journal was first published as a print newspaper in 1889. It has been in publication and produced continuously in Greater New York ever since.

The Wall Street Journal grew, changed, and adapted over the years. None of the changes were as noticeable as those that fell in line with the invention of the internet.

Source: The WSJ first issue from 1889

Here is a quick timeline of the key events in its history:

  • In 1996, The Wall Street Journal launched an online paid subscription service apart from its print edition. 

This was eventually available as an app based program for mobile devices in 2004. 

  • In 2007, News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, acquired Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal for US$5 billion. This added WSJ to the Murdoch news empire. The Rupert Murdoch news empire also includes Fox News, and the New York Post.
  • In 2015, the WSJ Pro was launched – a premium membership suite that relies on reader revenue, with no advertising (similar to its rival – The New York Times). 

Source: WSJ Pro

  • In 2010, the consumer media group of Dow Jones, which includes WSJ, merged with the enterprise media group that includes Dow Jones Newswires.
  • In June 2018, newsroom veteran Matt Murray took charge as its new editor in chief.

Today, the WSJ remains one of the most popular subscription app services with a stable subscriber base. The Dow Jones & Company operates it currently as part of News Corp.

Controversies that the Wall Street Journal was Involved in

The WSJ has had its share of controversies.

It’s editorial board has repeatedly denied that global warming even existed. According to the Washington Post, the WSJ’s editorial pages “may be the beating heart of climate-change skepticism.”

However, advertising on WSJ to challenge the Journal editorial page’s orthodoxy on climate change is permissible, says this washington post article

In Feb 2020, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that they would treat five major Chinese media outlets as extensions of the Xi Jinping led China Government. A day later, China’s foreign ministry revoked the press credentials of a few reporters over a controversial headline. The revocation by the foreign ministry included the press credentials of three WSJ journalists. 

In another incident in Feb 2020, one of the journal reporters was arrested in Hong Kong for criticizing the policies of the Communist Party of China.

As for the Wall Street Journal reporters – peep into any of their profile GlassDoor, and you’ll find complaints on issues like work life balance (just like any media company).

Who Reads The Wall Street Journal?

You will often hear reference to the fact that people who are “in the know” read The Wall Street Journal. 

Although these stats are now a bit dated, in 2005, the WSJ reported that its readership profile included around 60% top management, with an average income of $191,000, and an average household net worth of approximately $2.1 million. The average age of its readership at that time was 55.

A 2018 Forbes’ survey showed that the WSJ is the most trusted news source in the US, with 57.7% of Americans trusting it.

For a writer, a business analyst, or anyone else using the WSJ app for research, knowing who reads the newspaper is useful. The journalists and reporters of WSJ write articles that are geared toward this target audience, so cross-referencing with other sources that are a bit “younger” can be important at times. 

Despite this, many others benefit from the information in WSJ ― those who are looking to move upward in their field will gain extensive knowledge. If you plan to be an editor, this is a great newspaper to pick up headline writing and other editorial skills.

The paper benefits anyone looking for a different perspective of news (be it business or financial) and editorial features than what is offered by any other top national newspaper.

How Does The WSJ Work for a Working Professional?

As a writer myself, I’m always looking for just the right “tools” to make my job easier. Having access to The Wall Street Journal proves useful in my day-to-day work. 

For instance, I often find that the newspaper has an article that is helpful to me for research and is available at the click of a button while letting me set my privacy preferences as well. 

It saves me the struggle of finding a needed article locked behind a paywall. 

And, my access to WSJ’s search engine gives me even more search power to sniff out those hard-to-find stats to complete my articles.

At the time of writing this WSJ review, the coronavirus pandemic was a trending topic. On the WSJ digital app, I was drawn to an article on the front page about this significant health scare. 

As I clicked through, WSJ quickly led me to archived newsroom information about the SARS epidemic from two decades ago, which was something I wanted to read about more in-depth.

How Much Does The Wall Street Journal Cost?

Unfortunately, you can’t get The Wall Street Journal online free. As of February 2020, the standard monthly price for an All Access Digital subscription to The Wall Street Journal is $38.99. 

First-time subscribers can currently lock in for half-price for the first year, and there are frequently subscription deals such as $1.00 for the first month or similar offers. 

Those who are interested in also receiving a print edition can choose to get the paper daily or just on Saturdays for a small additional charge.

Another option for interested readers is to utilize Apple News, which is $9.99 per month, and gives you access to hundreds of magazines and papers. 

The three most recent days of The Wall Street Journal are available through Apple News at any given time. This may be the cheapest way to subscribe to the Journal ― although the full archives are not accessible like they are to someone who subscribes to the WSJ directly.

What does a Subscription to The Wall Street Journal Include?

An All Access Digital subscription to The Wall Street Journal includes the full daily edition of The Wall Street Journal as it is released (with updates as added by wall street journal reporters, of course). Plus, you have access to archived articles, which can be especially useful to anyone who does any amount of research for work or school. 

The digital version of WSJ is accessible on a computer as well as on Google Play, iOS, and the Kindle app store. This means that you can access the subscription to read a story from an iphone, ipad, or nearly any common device. 

If you add the print edition, you also receive the daily newspaper and the WSJ lifestyle magazine.

In addition to access to the award-winning journalism, and business and financial news that readers expect from The Wall Street Journal, the paper also often gives a subscriber special access to discounts, events, and other perks. Just by subscribing, the WSJ will often send a copy link of deals and information that are of interest to you directly to your email box.

How Can I Cancel My Subscription to The Wall Street Journal?

You would think that canceling a digital service would be easy. After all, you sign up online, so canceling would mean just clicking a few buttons, right?

Unfortunately, that is not the case. 

One of the most unfortunate problems with a subscription to The Wall Street Journal is that canceling is more complicated than it needs to be. 

If you want to cancel your subscription, you will have to call and speak with an account representative. You will more than likely also be offered a discount rate to remain a customer as the company will be fighting hard to keep you under a subscription plan. 

While this is unusual for a digital app, it is not unheard-of. 

However, it is something you should certainly keep in mind before you subscribe ― mainly if you are not fond of having to make phone calls.

The Wall Street Journal vs. Bloomberg

Bloomberg News has 30 years of history behind it. Over the years, it has grown to become a well-respected finance and economic news firm. 

However, for those looking for broader coverage, The Wall Street Journal comes out ahead.

The Wall Street Journal is considered by many to be much more “harder hitting” than Bloomberg when it comes to digging into financial topics and getting to the root of newsworthy items. 

While Bloomberg has its benefits as a news source, anyone wanting to use one paper or digital site as their primary way to stay informed will find that Bloomberg is thin in that regard. 

Digital content costs for the Wall Street Journal vs. Bloomberg is comparable. One benefit of Bloomberg is that casual readers can read a few articles free each month.

The Wall Street Journal vs. the Financial Times

The Financial Times is more international in focus than The Wall Street Journal. For someone interested in worldwide financial markets, reading the Financial Times at least on occasion may be a smart decision. 

The Financial Times is also very “intellectual.” It doesn’t offer much in terms of entertainment story or even editorial.

While the information the Financial Times provides can be quite useful and educational, it may not hold much interest for readers. 

The cost for the Financial Times digital access package is quite similar to that of The Wall Street Journal, so that isn’t a particular determining factor for anyone deciding between Financial Times or WSJ. 

However, the paper offers weekly packages, so it is possible to try it out and see if the service is worthwhile.

Pros of a Wall Street Journal Subscription

  • The WSJ mobile app is easy-to-use and makes it simple to access the current and back issues of The Wall Street Journal from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Ask nearly anyone “Is the Wall Street Journal reliable?” and you will get a positive response.
  • The WSJ is a financial publication, as well as a daily newspaper. It includes both hard-hitting journalism, financial news, opinion pieces and entertaining articles.
  • Price is on par with other popular financial publications that do not offer as much content as the WSJ.
  • You can access the archived articles, which can be useful for research purposes.
  • Discounts are often available for new subscribers so that you can try it out with less of an investment.
  • Adding the print version to your subscription is quite affordable.

Cons of a Wall Street Journal Subscription

  • The Wall Street Journal costs are notable, and even your first article each month is behind a paywall.
  • Like any newspaper, there may be an opinion piece or some articles you do not agree with, and you may feel that the paper leans one way or the other politically.
  • Cancellation is not easy. You will have to call to cancel if you decide that the subscription is not for you.

That brings us to the big question:

The Wall Street Journal, Is It Worth It?

Whether or not The Wall Street Journal is worth it comes down to personal preference. For a writer, anyone who researches extensively, or someone who wants to stay on top of news coverage and finance with one simple digital service, the subscription could prove to be a good deal.

While the monthly cost can seem a bit pricey, it is less expensive than most gym memberships or cable television plans.

The value of a Wall Street Journal subscription is obvious when you compare it with other similar digital products ― The Wall Street Journal covers a larger breadth of news and has an extensive archive.  

The Wall Street Journal Review: Bottom Line

The Wall Street Journal digital edition is one of the biggest subscriber-based services online today. 

Having all the knowledge of over 100 years of The Wall Street Journal accessible from your iphone, tablet, ipad, or computer through the wsj app is something that many people could only dream of years ago. 

If you enjoy the paper version of the WSJ or you are looking for an excellent go-to financial resource, the digital WSJ could be precisely what you’ve been looking for.

The Bottom Line
  • Ease of Use
  • Overall Value
3.75

Summary

The Wall Street Journal digital edition is one of the biggest subscriber-based services online today. If you are looking for an excellent go-to financial resource, the digital WSJ could be precisely what you’ve been looking for in an app.

Pros

  • An easy-to-use app on computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • It includes both hard-hitting journalism and entertaining articles.
  • Price is on par with other popular financial publications that do not offer as much news as the WSJ.
  • Subscribers can access the archives, which can be useful for research purposes.
  • Discounts are often available for new subscribers.
  • Adding the paper version to your subscription is quite affordable.

Cons

  • Costs are notable – even your first article each month is behind a paywall.
  • You may feel that the paper leans one way or the other politically.
  • Cancellation involves as phone call.
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