My Wall Street Journal subscription expired in July, but they are still sending me the paper. Maybe they wish I would renew, but I already started a subscription to Financial Times. Having both papers at the same time gives me an opportunity to put them side by side for a comparison.
Both Financial Times (FT) and Wall Street Journal (WSJ) cover business news. I like FT better. Let me explain why using last Friday’s papers as an example.
Fewer pages. Friday’s FT had 22 pages in two sections; WSJ had 46 pages in four sections. FT had one full ad page and two pages of market data; WSJ had six full ad pages and four pages of market data and legal notice. FT is more concentrated, with less fluff. 22 pages are plenty to go through already.
Tighter business focus. FT is tightly centered around business news, whereas WSJ also goes more into general news. Compare the front page headlines in last Friday’s papers:
- Surpirse slowdown in credit card losses
- SEC pledges more high-profile actions
- Banks sell switch to renminbi payments for trade with China
- Tech Titans in Bidding War [HP and Dell bid for 3Par]
- Iraqis Face Uncertain Future As U.S. Ends Combat Mission
- Canada Thwarts Bombing Attempt
For a business newspaper, FT’s headlines are more on topic.
More international coverage. FT’s headquarters is in London. The paper it distributes here is the US edition. It has more coverage for international business news. Compare the front page headlines in the corporate news section in last Friday’s papers:
FT (Companies & Markets section):
- HP fires fresh 3Par bid salvo
- BHP faces potash cartel backlash
- Glencore plans to list gold unit in move that could value it at $5bn [Glencore is a commodities company in Switzerland]
WSJ (Marketplace section):
- J&J’s Latest Recall: Hip-Repair Implants
- American Will Fight Record FAA Fine
- Nestlé Plans Ground Attack Over Coffee Beans
- Buyers Circle Net Security Company [ArcSight Inc in California]
WSJ feels like a home paper for Americans. FT has a lot more international coverage. It bills itself as a "World Business Newspaper."
No sob stories. FT is straight economic and corporate news. WSJ often includes stories with a personal connection, like the story about the parents still having to pay a deceased child’s student loan (because the parents are co-signers), or this story about consumers’ outrage against credit card companies for cutting their credit lines. I’m so glad Frank at Bad Money Advice came back from his short hiatus so I don’t have to raise my hand every time. I have a weak point for sob stories.
No page jumps. I hate reading half of a story and then told to go to page A14. WSJ does that a lot; FT doesn’t do it at all. FT does point to a related article at the end some articles, but the related article is a completely stand-alone article, not a continuation of another article. All articles on FT finish on the same page where they started unless a long article can’t fit the whole page.
Less expensive. The best deal to get either FT or WSJ is by using airline miles. For FT, it’s 2,000 miles for 305 issues (one year). At a value of 2 cents per mile, it’s only $40/year. You can use American, Delta, or United miles. WSJ subscription is 2,100 United miles for 254 issues or 2,100 American miles for 190 issues. You get a longer subscription with FT for about the same number of miles.
After working all day staring at a computer, I prefer reading a physical newspaper. Higher quality at lower cost — that’s why I like FT better than WSJ.