In the chaos of the constantly churning and increasingly confusing news cycle, infiltrated by fake news, media companies have been coming out in full force to reassert their journalistic integrity while promoting their brands. Earlier this year, The Atlantic debuted its "Question Your Answers," campaign, while The New York Times made its debut on The Oscars to show how "The Truth Is Hard." Now, The Wall Street Journal has stepped out with its own campaign, "The Face of Real News," which features an in-depth look at its own reporters and the lengths they will go to get to the heart of a story.
The campaign was created out of The&Partnership and comprises a series of animated profiles of WSJ staffers including Investigative Reporter John Carreyrou, who unearthed the scandalous sham behind one-time Silicon Valley darling Theranos, and Mergers & Acquisitions Reporter Dana Mattioli, who broke a story about the biggest deal in Warren Buffett's career -- while attending her best friend's wedding.
The Carreyrou film debuted in an email to members from WSJ Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker late last month, and the Wall Street Journal launched the second this week. Five more will roll out in the coming weeks.
The campaign was created out of The&Partnership. The videos tell fascinating stories about the rigorous reporting the Journals' talents, via the playfully sophisticated animation of artist Tom DesLongchamp. He also created illustrated portraits of each journalist -- almost like a stylized step-up from the reporter hedcuts for which the WSJ is known.
"Shining a spotlight on the work of our journalists, the lengths they go to in order to find a story, the time spent investigating, gathering information and analyzing it -- we felt was the perfect antidote to 'fake news,'" said WSJ CMO Suzi Watford."We believe our members and the wider world appreciate seeing how WSJ reporters do what they do and why we have earned the reputation we have."
As for the brief the Journal gave to the agency, "We wanted to find a way to show that shows what goes into creating real news," she said. "And there was no better way than showing exactly that. It's real journalists diving into details, talking to sources, researching the facts and painstakingly analyzing the details. The key for us was to find a unique, creative way to tell our these stories in video that would work on social channels. The goal was to engage our members and tell our story -- reinforcing that The Wall Street Journal is journalism worth paying for."
Like other news organizations, the election helped to give business a boost. In November, the Journal decided to keep its paywall up, but it saw "record traffic on WSJ.com and the biggest week for organic subscription sales on record," she said. The Journal also recently saw a record-breaking quarter of membership growth. It now has more than 2.1 million subscribers, over half of which are digital.
On whether the current political climate and the spotlight now trained on news organizations served as impetus for the campaign, "only in the sense that it has dovetailed with the issue of 'fake' news," Ms. Watford said. " [It's] done well to separate distinguished, objective news organizations from highly-partisan ones that lack the rigorous journalistic standards that are integral to what we do every day. It has also highlighted the public need for credible, accurate and timely reporting in a sea of noise. Our journalists are living proof."