The Wall Street Journal Is Getting Really Good at Customized Publishing (or so I thought)


My wife is a pre-school teacher, and I am a vegan.

Well somehow today’s Wall Street Journal managed to do a mashup of those two facts by having a front-page story about a vegan pre-school in New Jersey.

When I saw it, my first reaction was thinking that somehow the Journal had cracked the code of customized publishing, and was now printing newspapers that were customized down to the individual reader level.

After all, how many readers of the Journal would care about such a story, besides a household like ours?

After reading the story, I quickly started scanning the paper to see if the entire edition was customized just for us. I was looking to see if there were stories about juggling (no), swimming (no), teaching accounting (no), or Bruce Springsteen (no).

So then I started to think that maybe the front page story wasn’t written just for my wife and I. So I went online to see if the story about the vegan preschool was featured on the Journal web site, and there it was, and it had over 120 comments to go with it.

And as you might imagine, the vast majority of the comments were against having the kids eating a vegan diet, as well as against the way the school made such a decision.

And like most comments sections, there were personal insults traded back and forth, and the inevitable comparison to Hitler, as predicted by Godwin’s Law:

Hitler started with 2% and forced all Hell upon Germany.  So there is a precedent here. 

I know I’m biased, but I love what the school is doing, and not just from a nutritional standpoint. Here’s a brief description of the school from the article:

This is a gentle place where 92 children play barefoot to feel a connection to their environment and the air often smells like peppermint or citrus from aromatherapy. Classrooms have bowls of pine cones, seashells and rocks for toys. Some chairs are sawed-off tree stumps… Many of its parents have international backgrounds and embrace its devotion to unstructured play, creativity and the outdoors.

I realize some people may not agree with the philosophy of such a school, which is fine. But what I don’t get is some of the anger in the comments; no one is forcing parents to send their kids to this school. I would be thrilled to have had the opportunity to send our kids to such a school, and I would assume that the other parents at such a school would feel the same way, otherwise they would have sent their kids to a different school.

So what are you angry about?

That someone is doing something that you don’t agree with? Is it jealousy? Is it the realization that some of your long-held beliefs may not be as true as you thought? Is it because you don’t like change, a new way of doing things?

Whatever it might be, I think the anger is misplaced. There’s so many other things you could direct your anger at than a preschool that is trying to develop healthy, happy, globally aware, and environmentally conscious children.

Well done, Scandinavian School of Jersey City, I wish you continued success.

And I’m still looking forward to the day when the Journal just has stories about juggling, Springsteen, and Apple…

*photo from Agatom Strom of the Wall Street Journal

Published by

Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

One thought on “The Wall Street Journal Is Getting Really Good at Customized Publishing (or so I thought)”

  1. Gotta carve out a few minutes this weekend to read the article. The school definitely sounds unique.

    As for angry commenters, I know what you mean. Seems some folks trawl the internet looking for ways to stir things up. Some people are never satisfied and have to let everyone else know it.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *