On Nov. 9, the WSJ reported that Monsanto was holding talks about a sale or merger with Swiss drug maker Novartis. The next day, the Post had a page-one article on that topic. On Nov. 19, the WSJ had as its lead article a report on declining enthusiasm for and sales of genetically altered seeds. On Sunday, Nov. 28, the Post followed with its own page-one version of that news. Then, in the Wednesday, Nov. 24, "WSJ Marketplace" section front, an article headlined "St. Louis Mall Declares War on E-Retailing" broke the news about Galleria stores trying to ban ads for e-commerce. The Post made that its page-one lead article two days later on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
Business editor Andre Jackson wasn't apologetic about following up with the Galleria piece: "It was a good story. To my mind there was no reason not to put it on the front page. Most of our readers probably didn't see it in the Journal." As for the Monsanto coverage, Jackson says that is done by "another team," referring to the system of dividing reporters into different "teams." The science, health and technology team handles Monsanto, but Jackson defends the Post's coverage and sees it as unfair to focus on just one or two articles; he avoids blaming the recent loss of Fred Faust and the upcoming departure of Robert Steyer for any slippage.
"Obviously we would like more reporters," Jackson says. "From our end, as the local paper, we're going to write about Monsanto a lot more than the Wall Street Journal would. In some cases it's a sense of timing. You see a big story in the Wall Street Journal and you say, "Gee whiz, that's big news,' whereas we may have that story in bits and pieces in the prior six months or the prior year.... If you want to play a game of "gotcha,' you can probably always do that, but if you look at it over time ... that's the fairest way to look at it." "
OK, we get it. Check the Post for "bits and pieces" and the Journal for the "big story."
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