The WSJ, America's second most widely read newspaper with 1.8 million adherents, is owned by Dow Jones & Co., which has published it in New York City since 1889. It is printed at 17 plants nationwide, and in most civilized parts of the US, you can get a fresh copy on your doorstep every morning. Separate international editions are published in Brussels and Hong Kong, and a number of overseas papers carry a translated collection of WSJ pages called "Special Edition." Many U.S. papers get a "Sunday Journal" section from the WSJ, which reaches 10 million readers.

The Journal started life as a newsletter printed by Mr. Dow and Mr. Jones, delivering daily happenings on Wall Street by courier to clients all over the city. In 1889, they turned their newsletter into a four-page broadsheet. Clarence W. Barron took over in 1902 and introduced a nationwide, telegraph-based distribution network. Bernard Kilgore, who succeeded Barron in 1941, expanded the WSJ from a financial daily into a well-rounded news source.

Usually, the Journal is 96 pages long. The main sections are:

  • First Section - On the front page, you'll usually find something about Alan Greenspan, something about a rally or crash, and the ubiquitous "What's News" box that briefs you on goings-on all over the world. The fourth column usually contains a humorous or offbeat story.* The major business and political stories are in this section, and the columnists are at the back.
  • Marketplace - This is where you can read about what successful and unsuccessful companies are doing. Usually, these articles focus on products and services, not earnings reports or lawsuits.
  • Money and Investing - This is the part you pretend to be interested in. All the line graphs, pie charts, and stock price tables are in this section, along with economic indicators and other hard data.
  • Personal Journal - As the name implies, this section deals with personal finance: consumer goods, mortgages, and the like. It comes out in the middle of the week.
  • Weekend Journal - More mainstream articles about leisure, entertainment, food, and other creature comforts. After stressing over statistics for four days, you get to kick back with this section on Friday.
Given its focus on economics, conservatives tend to like the WSJ more than politically-oriented papers like the New York Times. But everybody who's anybody reads it, pretty much.

* thanks to mightymooquack for pointing that out

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