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Digital Media Strategies: WSJ digital managing editor Raju Narisetti on the intersection between tech and content

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Jasper Jackson, TheMediaBriefing Experts' Blog, Digital Media, Newspapers


What should newspaper publishing in the digital age look like ? It's the intersection of technology and content - with developers embedded in the newsroom and a platform-neutral subscription strategy. 

That's the vision of Raju Narisetti, the head of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network who is putting this new way of working into practice. 

Narisetti told the Digital Media Strategies conference in London on Tuesday, in an in-stage interview with TheMediaBriefing editor and chief analyst, that great content is no longer enough to differntiate the WSJ from competitors like the Times or Telegraph. 

"Most big news rooms have focussed on creating great content, and thinking the audience will come and hopefully they'll pay," says Narisetti. 

"But having great content is no longer enough - everybody gets the same news."

"The experience the audience are getting from the content is what will differentiate us from competiton and all experience only come at intersection of content and tech."

That, says Narisetti means taking on the difficult task of bringing new technology and new expertise into the newsroom. In his previous role at the Washington Post, Narisetti saw the editorial staff reduced from 850 to around 600 - but also 100 new roles were created. 

"Try putting your newsrtooms and tech together it can be a nightmare. You have to embrace your CIO and CTO." 

"I'm a big advocate of embedding developers in the newsroom." 

WSJ Everywhere

Narisetti shared some stats on how the WSJ is moving to a platform-neutral approach to its subscribers.

-- Print vs Online: The Wall Street Journal has 2.3 million readers in print, but a whopping 60 million online.

-- Mobile: "Last month, 32 percent of my traffic came from mobile," says Narisetti  A year ago it was 20 percent and a year from now it will be 50 percent."

-- iPad: WSJ has 130,000 readers who just subscribe to the iPad app. 

Though the WSJ has increased print subscriptions - online is where the real growth is. However, Narisetti says the demarcation between print and online is fading.  

"Audiences are blending together. We are starting to take the approach of WSJ everywhere as the business model - a subscription model where you can acess in any way."

Narisetti says the device that currently makes up the largest proportion of WSJ's traffic is the smartphone - which is the platform providing the fastest growth - especially from Android handsets. 

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