Last Friday we met with Erin Sparling, who leads the Design and Technology department at the Wall Street Journal. Technology is serious business to the Wall Street Journal. Erin discussed the underlying technologies and team that keep the newspaper and it’s subsidiary websites running smoothly. He also talked about some of the paper’s enterprising endeavors. Competitors like the New York Times have deep an interesting technology directives. But the Journal’s focus on new technology is not just innovation, the Journal wants to provide compelling features that their customers are willing to pay for. Their iPad application is a success story in this regard - it’s both a new technology product and it’s already profitable.
While giving a tour of the recent Wall Street Journal iPad app, Erin delineated how the team’s approach and process is informed by the temporal nature of the news. Due to updates and revisions that articles undergo after they’re initially published, as well as the increasing number of frames these articles need to fit into, much of the department’s focus is on building flexible, skinnable applications. Their iPad app manages to seamlessly merge the traditional layout of the print version of the Journal with enriched digital features such as dynamic updates to content and supplemental video clips. The secret to the Wall Street Journal’s innovation revolves around enhancing the news reading experience with digital tools while retaining the value of the physical version.
Thanks for the visit Erin!