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2019 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Newsroom winner

The Wall Street Journal

About the Project

The Wall Street Journal accelerated its digital experimentation this year with the creation of new tools, products and engagement experiments, while exploring new forms of storytelling and creating ground-breaking partnerships. We added dozens of team members and created new departments to help connect our world-class journalism to our audience.

Our Research and Development team built innovative tools to help reporters dig into data, yielding stories about a lack of caregiver screening at Care.com and third-party apps sharing personal data with Facebook.

We employed a broad range of tools in digital story telling, including data visualizations and fast, accurate breaking news graphics. We created 3D and animated explainers.

We raised the bar on the quality of conversation among WSJ readers with a cross-team project called Elevated Discourse. The goals were to improve reader engagement by eliminating personal attacks and create an environment where everyone’s contributions are welcomed. Comments on wsj.com are now a member-only experience; thoughtful comments are featured prominently on article pages, on social media and in news stories; and audience conversation is open on select stories for a limited window with question prompts to guide the discussion. A new Audience Voice reporting team is engaging with readers, approaching those conversations as an opportunity to enhance our reporting.

In May we launched a redesign of the “Latest News” portion of our iPad app, which brought our Webby Award winning iPhone design to our tablet readers. The iPad app now features bigger, better visuals and improved story layouts. We also streamlined navigation in our apps and redesigned our section pages.

The Future of Everything — a website, newsletter, podcast and multi-day festival — reached even greater heights in 2019, demonstrating how the Journal is delighting audiences and meeting their needs in new ways. A redesigned website features new article pages that showcase strong visuals.

Determined to respond to reader need in real time, our Live Journalism team debuted a series of conference calls connecting readers with editors and reporters. Those efforts drew in thousands of readers and drove deeper engagement with our journalism, whether it concerns key turns in the Mueller investigation or the existential crisis facing General Electric.

Our off-platform storytelling soared to new heights, utilizing platforms like Twitter to publish threads on everything from record U.S. job growth to China’s treatment of its Muslim minorities. We used both Instagram and Snapchat to produce wholly original content, including an interview segment employing artificial intelligence.

In addition to new offerings for existing subscribers, the Journal sought to connect with new members by entering into exciting new partnerships with Apple News, Twitter and Gimlet.

Innovations were not limited to the newsroom. Our membership team developed new strategies to move the Journal away from the one-size-fits-all approach of most paywall models. Its new model distills complex readership patterns into straightforward, actionable indicators.

More than two decades after its initial foray into online publishing, the Journal continues to break new ground while maintaining the standards that have made us a news source trusted by all sides.

Representatives from The Wall Street Journal accepted the 2019 award for General Excellence, Large. (Video by Aiyana Ishmael, ONA19 HBCU Fellow)