INNOVATION Media President Juan Senor sat down with WSJ’s Matt Murray last week, for a Q&A at the INMA World Congress at The New York Times Center in New York, NY. Here are 15 of the most important points made by Murray, regarding the current ethos of the Wall Street Journal, as well as the brand’s future plans for growth. And of course, Murray and Senor managed to discuss the current landscape of print-to-digital news conversion and media innovation in 2019.

1. On tailoring content to device: “Mobile thrives on urgency which has been the fuel to breaking news.”

2. On metrics that matter: “As a premium subscription product, we’re laser-focused on subscriber engagement & retention. That looks like time spent, stories per visit, visits per month. We obsess over what’s grabbing subscribers’ attention and keeping them satisfied & engaged.”

3. On the intersection between content and product: “I won’t pretend to know design & technology better than those teams—just like I don’t pick the ink we use—but I feel I’m as responsible for the digital user experience as I am the print reader experience.”

4. On giving too much power to metrics: “I am concerned about the temptation that the metrics of what attracts audiences and provokes ‘engagement’ leads to editorializing too much in what is not opinion but information.”

5. On continued product personalisation: “I think we’re all anticipating that technology is going to take us into a way of much more personalisation in the next few years. So we’re thinking harder about each of those core topic areas and how do we get the best one there … Personalisation is going to transform the online experience.”

6. On an editorial balance of power: “The separation of managerial activities and journalism has been a fundamental action for my team.”

7. On traditional media models: “Breaking that print mindset– which for The Wall Street Journal is a very, very successful model– and breaking that model is a cultural challenge.”

8. On sustained subscriptions: “Broadly, there are two things will bring in the most subscribers: deep, long-form news and breaking news.”

9. On the ongoing value of printed news: “I share the passion for print reading because, as you say, I don’t think there’s a product we have that has as high of satisfaction as print.”

10. On WSJ’s participation with Apple News: “Apple is the first big tech company who has put a product on the table that pays us for our content. And they have been emphasizing in the product that they are going to talk about quality content … That means you won’t have a fake news problem. And that to us is intriguing and worth engaging in.”

11. On WSJ’s online presentation: “I think we’ve tried to focus the product to help curate, so the homepage is not too deep, is not endless so you can find what you need to know.”

12. On transforming to mobile-first new products: “We were doing too many newsletters, frankly. A lot of them were just links to stories they weren’t actually journalistic news experiences.”

13. On WSJ’s ongoing mission: “I worry about the constant challenge of evolving with our audience, but staying true to our content. Staying true to the real quality reporting that is the bedrock of all great journalism,”

14. On creating realistic KPIs: “I expect our Platform Chiefs—particularly in social—to lay down specific expectations for what a story needs to be successful with their users and then impose those requirements on the Coverage Chiefs driving story generation.”

15. On maintaining brand integrity: “When there’s scrutiny and ‘heat’ on a story, you don’t want to avoid it. Instead, you want to stand up for your journalists and your policies, but you have to take the high road.”

All photos courtesy of Robert Downs, INMA