In 2021 our journalists covered a world of disruptive change. What won’t change: Our effort to retain your trust.
Almar Latour – Jan. 14, 2022
The Wall Street Journal headquarters have been quiet in the past year, but our journalism is quite the opposite. The usual cacophony—phones ringing, reporters interviewing sources, editors discussing the latest news developments and screens flashing headlines and statistics—has been replaced, at least temporarily, with utter silence as most colleagues are again working from home amid the latest Covid-19 spike.
Such quietude stands in stark contrast to the intensity of our coverage: the return of inflation, disruptions in supply chains, the threat of conflict in Europe, growing U.S.-China tensions, the global health crisis, climate concerns, labor challenges for employers and the Great Resignation, the rise of crypto and meme stocks, Big Tech getting bigger, an erosion of trust in institutions, and the fight for free speech. Emerging trends, too, demand our attention: the large-scale energy transition, advances in space travel and the combination of bioscience and massive computing power to unlock a revolution in medicine, to name a few.
Dread and optimism, anxiety and excitement, mistrust and hope. Throughout modern history, the combination of those opposing sentiments have been moments of ignition and change, marking the start of new eras. It is during such periods that The Wall Street Journal lives up most to its mission: To be the world’s most trusted source of news, data and analysis to help people make decisions.
While emotions may run hot everywhere around us, our reporters and editors consistently keep a cool head and bring you, the reader, facts and analysis without bias or agenda. This pursuit of unbiased truth is so essential to our journalism that it’s the ethos of our Code of Conduct and editorial standards. We stick to facts, we admit to and correct mistakes we make, and we don’t blindside the subjects of our coverage. We underpin our findings with data. Our business lens on the world stands out even more these days with so much noise and distraction seeping into our lives via screens on wrists, walls and phones.
The result of that commitment is some of our most remarkable reporting in years. The Journal’s chief foreign-affairs correspondent, Yaroslav Trofimov, told me recently that Great Power competition on the global stage is in full swing, at a level “not seen since the 1930s,” fueled by the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. He added: “American adversaries are testing the limits of American and Western power.”
On the ground in Afghanistan, as the Taliban took over the country at rapid speed, Mr. Trofimov was the last of our reporters to leave Kabul and, after the takeover was complete, our first reporter back on the ground.
While developments on the ground unfolded, the Journal also worked to secure and relocate our Afghan colleagues and their families, vulnerable to Taliban retaliation because of their association with Western media. Mr. Trofimov—along with devoted colleagues across the Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones—worked tirelessly, waking up at 4 a.m. to report and write stories, and from 9 a.m. onward to help evacuate colleagues. All the more than 80 Afghan workers and their family members eventually made it to safety, a journey that involved efforts by governments on three continents.
Another striking example of impactful reporting: The Facebook Files, a series of reports that offers an unprecedented window into how Facebook and Instagram pushed ahead with products despite possessing clear evidence of their adverse effect on society, including vulnerable teens. The investigation, spearheaded by reporter Jeff Horwitz and a team of Journal colleagues, resulted in global discussion and congressional hearings, as well as additional insiders at social-media platforms stepping forward with concerns about the platforms’ effects on society.
Meanwhile, Joanna Stern, the Journal’s senior personal-technology columnist, reported on tectonic shifts in the tech sector in her own unique style, humanizing complex issues through often humorous videos and writings. Her minidocumentary on how technology can tell our stories for generations to come won an Emmy, a first for the Journal. She also conducted tough interviews with the industry’s most powerful players, breaking down Big Tech’s problems. “We’ve got these ultrapowerful companies, and people need to understand their products,” she told me recently. “Ultimately, we have to live with these products.”
Reporting is vitally important during times of complexity, and the Journal featured countless other pieces with in-depth insights, including a thorough investigation of federal judges when they stood to gain by their verdict, reporting on the high cost and dubious job-market value of some master’s degrees at elite universities, explaining how tiny changes can help people achieve their retirement goals, unpacking GameStop mania and much, much more.
Our Opinion colleagues vigorously applied the institution’s core principles of “free people, free markets” to global issues, ranging from the Afghanistan withdrawal to dwindling freedom in Hong Kong, and domestic ones, from tax hikes and spending plans to voting rights. Our Opinion pages also continued to serve as a forum for a diversity of thought: Sen. Joe Manchin first outlined his concerns about the administration’s Build Back Better bill in an op-ed and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen weighed in with her take on the debt ceiling. As the world appears to embark on a new era, the Opinion team itself is changing. One of the Journal’s most-read columnists, Daniel Henninger, whose thoughtful observations are a steady force in American debate, is retiring as deputy editorial page editor after 50 years at Dow Jones. His weekly column will continue.
All this reporting strength has contributed to the strongest business performance for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones since News Corp acquired the company 15 years ago. Business is growing at the fastest rate since then.
Today we reach more readers around the world than ever. The Journal and its sister publications reach more than 130 million digital users, and millions more when including the Journal’s Apple Edition and readers from other partnerships. Subscriptions stand at more than 3.5 million for the Journal and more than 4.5 million for Dow Jones as a whole, with demand continuing to rise as trusted news becomes an ever rarer commodity. Ultimately, we believe anyone in business should come across Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal a few times a day because trusted information and facts should be available to inform decisions of all kinds—from investing to navigating Covid-19.
The future of the Journal lies in investing to expand our unique, high-quality journalism, data and analysis, while making sure our current and future customers have access to the news and tools that they want—when, where and how they want it.
The year ahead will bring expanded markets coverage, more stories on personal finance and health, continued global journalism, more video, more podcasts, more data and expansion into key coverage areas, such as energy transition and sustainability. Dow Jones and the Journal announced planned investments of roughly $1.5 billion in energy-related assets in the past year, the first such expansionary push in nearly two decades, and that will show in our coverage to come.
As for our offices, our colleagues look forward to seeing each other again in person as circumstances allow. The Journal is not immune to what workplaces such as yours are likely also going through as we work in a changed environment.
We are grateful to the millions of you who place your trust in us. We will continue to experience uneven terrain in the year to come. It will require us all to have resilience, creativity—and access to reliable information. The Wall Street Journal will be there alongside you, making sense of it all, helping you make decisions.
Appeared in the January 15, 2022, print edition.
Since the majority of these articles are from the Wall Street Journal, especially the editorial page, it seems appropriate to include on the site these reports to readers.