The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is running a limited-run newsletter based on archived content to find long-term readers and subscribers.
A new series called the "7 financial crises that rocked the US" looks back at the most serious misdeeds in corporate America over the last century, from the world's biggest Ponzi scheme to the Enron scandal.
Liz Webber, newsletter producer at WSJ, was researching items for its flagship What's News newsletter, when she came across its archived coverage of Charles Ponzi, the namesake behind the fraudulent scheme. That led to the idea of a series the publication could provide an authoritative take on, which would also appeal to both new and existing Journal readers.
The final seven stories were selected based on feedback and input from a range of colleagues, including investing columnist Jason Zweig, finance reporters Gregory Zuckerman and Jonathan Weil, and financial reporting fellow Brenda León.
Standalone newsletters have worked well in the past. The Email Challenges are five short courses focused on personal improvement: the Money Challenge, the Investing Challenge, the Fitness Challenge, the Networking Challenge and the Healthy Habits Challenge.
It is functionally the same: readers can sign up at any time and start receiving emails (usually once a week) from the moment they subscribe. Each Challenge lasts for five or six weeks.
"These newsletters have some of our most engaged readers, and continue to gradually add new subscribers months or years after they launch," says Webber in an email to Journalism.co.uk.
"With our Email Challenges, the expectation is that readers only have to commit a limited amount of time, but it's a topic they likely care a lot about. We envision the financial crimes series will serve a similar need, although the main draw is a juicy read rather than a desire for self-improvement."
She will seek reader feedback directly from subscriber emails and a survey posted in the final email of the series.
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