Celebrity Journalists and the ...


It looks like the Wall Street Journal is locked and loaded to separate from AllThingsD after the first of the year.

According to Matthew Lynley at BuzzFeed, the Journal will launch a global technology coverage section called”WSJD” next month. Doesn’t quite have the same ring as AllThingsD though the Journal tried with that switched-on “D” at the end.

It’s a reminder that my prospects as a soothsayer remain dodgy at best. Back in September, I predicted that the AllThingsD brand would live on without Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher writing:

If there was ever a media property dependent on one or two individuals, it was the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. If you think AllThingsD’s six years of existence constitutes stability, consider that Johnny Carson’s run went for 30 years.  Everyone viewed his decision to retire as NBC’s version of Armageddon. How could NBC replace Johnny? The Tonight Show and Johnny were one and the same. Yet, NBC plopped Jay Leno into Johnny’s shoes and the Tonight Show franchise not only continued, but thrived. Now Leno’s 22-year reign is coming to an end with Jimmy Fallon waiting in the wings.

The point is, the AllThingsD brand has value minus Mr. Mossberg and Ms. Swisher. With media companies challenged to pick up the tab for the Friday jelly donuts, why throw out something of monetary worth?

It’s fair to say that I underestimated the clout of Mossberg and Swisher, forcing the Journal to make a clean break.

Their Twitter handles as much as any public data hammer home this point.

The AllThingsD Twitter account has snagged 191,746 followers.

The combined following of Mossberg and Swisher ring in at 1,463,656, almost 6X the media property’s Twitter account.

How will the Journal transition the AllThingsD social media channels to its new product?

It doesn’t really matter because the true power in this case lies with the celebrity journalists, not the name in the masthead.

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