The Wall Street Journal is universally accepted as the most important publication in the business world. Truly, you’re not a legitimate businessperson in this country without your own subscription. But, is it really worth it? Is a WSJ sitting on your desk simply an empty status symbol, or does this newspaper really have the ability to create professionals?
This question can be answered with basic business strategy: How much time and money will it cost me, and how much will I make in return? Though I can’t quantify the returns on this investment, I can assure you that it is a wise one.
The print Wall Street Journal has just three sections: Politics & Economics, Marketplace, and Money & Investing. Each section has national and international news stories, personal narratives, industry insights, and opinions that can educate and inform interested investors. Every news story is told within the context of economics, so that the financial implications are clear. Using this information wisely, the WSJ will pay for itself with the money you can make.
But the Journal goes beyond simply covering news. Each issue includes profiles and narratives of individuals in the business world: their new projects, old projects, experiences, and history. These pieces are invaluable to a reader who can learn from someone else’s mistakes, and be inspired by someone else’s success.
One of the most valuable elements of the Wall Street Journal is the breadth of industries that it covers. Everything from technology and commodities to entertainment and innovation are represented, and each story is economically relevant and informative. More than this, these pieces are presented in such a way that the content is always accessible, no matter how far from your own expertise it may seem. Using the WSJ to keep yourself informed of happenings in other industries can give you an edge in networking and relating to professionals everywhere.
To find evidence of the WSJ’s combination of strength and accessibility, simply turn to the Letters to the Editor section. Here, you will often find names that you recognize; perhaps the CEO of your portfolio gem, a representative to the United Nations, or even your congressman has written a letter. Right next to them, you will find that Joe, from Oakbrook, Illinois also has an opinion to share. In the Wall Street Journal, the wisdom of crowds and the insight of experts are together on the same page.
Beyond these heavy-hitters, a subscription to the WSJ comes with many other perks. Subscribers are sometimes offered books, conferences, and networking tools at a discount, and before they are available to the general public.
Though I did consider subscribing to the online Wall Street Journal, I really much prefer the print version. Its portability is irreplaceable, even with my pda screen topping three inches. More than that, it’s not a heavy paper. Ads are kept to a minimum, and the editors publish only the most relevant financial information for the day, so the paper is not cumbersome and the content is not overwhelming. Nearly every page has a outlines, bulleted lists, charts, and illustrations to facilitate information gathering. I especially appreciate the indexes that list the notable individuals and companies that are covered in each issue.
The one thing you may be expecting in the Wall Street Journal that you won’t find is expert advice. Of course, if you have the same information that the experts do, you don’t need their advice.