Dow Jones & Company has been a driving force in financial news and markets for over 130 years. As publisher of The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, Barron’s, MarketWatch and several other publications, the company has shaped how investors access and analyze financial information.

The Origins of Dow Jones & Company

Dow Jones & Company was founded in 1882 by three reporters – Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. The company’s first publication was the Customer’s Afternoon Letter, a two-page financial news bulletin that summarized the day’s trading activity. This was followed in 1884 by the 11-page The Wall Street Journal, which initially focused on providing financial news to the brokerage community.

The company steadily expanded its news operations over the next few decades. By the early 1900s, Dow Jones had 40 correspondents stationed around the world gathering business and financial news through telegraph and telephone. This global reach established The Wall Street Journal as the premier source for comprehensive coverage of markets and companies worldwide.

Launch of Market Indexes and News Services

In 1884, Charles Dow created the Dow Jones Industrial Average – the first market index – which originally tracked 12 companies. This benchmark index enabled investors to easily gauge overall stock market performance. Over the next century, Dow Jones launched several other iconic market indexes including the Dow Jones Transportation Average (1897), Dow Jones Utility Average (1929) and the Dow Jones Composite Average (1941).

Dow Jones also pioneered financial news services for investors and professionals. In 1882, the company launched its first news ticker, transmitting stock quotes between New York and Philadelphia. This was followed in 1896 by the Dow Jones news telegraph, which delivered global financial news to brokers’ offices in real-time.

Dow Jones later introduced news services specifically for banks, retailers and newspapers. In 1941, the company launched the Wire Express, supplying continuous news reports to radio stations. The breadth of Dow Jones’ news services established the company as an indispensible source of actionable intelligence for investors and businesses.

Post World War II Expansion

Following World War II, Dow Jones ramped up expansion efforts to extend its publishing and information services. Key moves included:

  • Launching the National Observer newspaper in 1962. While the publication was short-lived, closing in 1977, it expanded Dow Jones’ readership base.
  • Acquiring Kiplinger’s Changing Times magazine in 1961, which provided personal finance advice and forecasts.
  • Creating The Wall Street Journal Asia and The Wall Street Journal Europe in 1970 and 1983 respectively. This boosted Dow Jones’ global footprint and overseas readership.
  • Launching newsletters like The Wall Street Journal Report on Emerging Markets in the 1970s and 1980s to provide specialized coverage of key growth areas.
  • Rolling out newswires focused on key industry verticals – energy, metals, agriculture – to deliver real-time news to commodity traders.
  • Introducing databases like VentureWire in 1997 to track venture capital and private equity news.

By broadening both its publications portfolio and industry coverage, Dow Jones grew revenues and cemented its position as a diversified financial news leader by the 1990s.

The Digital Era and

Dow Jones strategically embraced digital technologies to expand its readership and gain advantage in electronic publishing. This enabled the company to augment its print newspapers and news wires with digital offerings.

Key digital initiatives included:

  • Launching in 1996 – One of the first mainstream news sites, replicated The Wall Street Journal’s global, real-time news coverage online. pioneered the “freemium” model, offering limited free articles and premium subscription-only content.
  • Acquiring financial sites – In the early 2000s, Dow Jones acquired several specialty finance and data sites including VentureOne, Private Equity Analyst, MarketWatch and Infinata. This expanded Dow Jones’ digital presence across asset classes, companies and markets.
  • Video and audio programming – In the mid-2000s, The Wall Street Journal built up its online video capabilities, launching a video network and several regularly scheduled programs. The paper also developed audio programming like podcasts and radio.
  • Mobile apps – Dow Jones was quick to develop mobile apps for and its other publications like Barron’s and MarketWatch. It released its first Blackberry WSJ app in 2005. This enabled readers to access Dow Jones content on smartphones and tablets.

Thanks to these new digital products and platforms, Dow Jones was well-positioned to engage financial professionals and mainstream readers in the internet era.

Evolution of News Wires and Data Services

Even as it expanded digitally, Dow Jones continued to leverage its heritage in financial news services. The company significantly grew and diversified its wires and data offerings from the 1980s onward.

Key developments included:

  • Algorithmic trading feeds – Starting in the mid-2000s, Dow Jones launched ultra-low latency news feeds tailored to automated trading systems. These feeds transmit machine-readable news and data in just milliseconds.
  • Reference data – Dow Jones built up fixed-reference data sets on companies, funds, credits, commodities and other instruments. These data feeds provide essential identifiers and descriptive attributes used in trading systems.
  • Alternative data – More recently, Dow Jones has compiled alternative data sets tracking credit card transactions, foot traffic, web traffic and other trends. These unique data sets help investors gain an information edge.
  • Tools and analytics – Going beyond raw data, Dow Jones developed value-added services like earnings calendars, economic indicators, proprietary credit ratings, financial sentiment tools and screening filters.

This evolution has enabled Dow Jones to provide institutional clients with both the essential data pipes and smart analytic tools needed to identify trading opportunities and power investment models.

2007 Acquisition by News Corp

In 2007, News Corporation acquired Dow Jones in a blockbuster $5 billion deal that highlighted the value of financial news and data. The acquisition expanded News Corp’s business news capabilities, providing synergies with properties like Fox Business Network. But Dow Jones retained editorial independence under the deal’s terms.

The extra capital and resources from News Corp enabled Dow Jones to make strategic moves like:

  • Investing in China, including a Chinese-language WSJ site and news bureau
  • Acquiring leading energy data provider Genscape in 2008
  • Purchasing fashion/retail data provider Exec-Appointments in 2011
  • Launching Risk & Compliance Journal in 2012 to cover regulatory issues
  • Buying GainsKeeper tax data tools in 2013

The News Corp backing accelerated Dow Jones’ transformation into a diverse digital and data-driven publisher able to effectively serve Wall Street and Main Street audiences alike.

Leadership Through Innovation

Throughout its history, Dow Jones has been led by executives who shaped the evolution of business news and information services.

Some key leaders include:

  • Clarence W. Barron – He purchased Dow Jones in 1902 and repositioned The Wall Street Journal as a national paper, while advocating for strong financial reporting standards.
  • Kilborn Peter – As CEO from 1941 to 1961, he oversaw Dow Jones’ expansion into radio news and launch of international editions of The Wall Street Journal.
  • Warren H. Phillips – Serving as CEO from 1966 to 1991, he grew Dow Jones into a global multi-media company with prominent print, wire, conference and digital operations.
  • Peter R. Kann – This long-time WSJ veteran was CEO from 1991 to 2007. He led Dow Jones’ push into online media and its database growth.
  • Leslie Hinton – As CEO from 2007 to 2011 following News Corp’s acquisition, he integrated Dow Jones while upholding its editorial integrity.
  • William Lewis – Since 2014, Lewis has been CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. He has led efforts to diversify revenue streams beyond print advertising.

By combining business savvy with a commitment to fearless, investigative journalism, these and other Dow Jones executives enabled the company’s incredible growth and industry leadership over the past 130+ years.

The 21st Century Landscape

Today, Dow Jones occupies a unique position in global business media. With The Wall Street Journal as its crown jewel, the company provides:

  • Authoritative business and finance coverage – From Wall Street to global markets to the finer points of tax policy, Dow Jones offers unrivaled reporting spanning all industry sectors.
  • Sophisticated data platforms – Its institutional data feeds and tools equip financial professionals with the intelligence for trading, research and risk management.
  • Insightful market analysis – Through its market indexes and indicators, Dow Jones supplies benchmarks that define market behavior and investment performance.
  • Diverse digital properties – Dow Jones has expanded online to engage both investment bankers and individual investors with apps, newsletters, video, podcasts and more.
  • Robust technology infrastructure – With low-latency networks and advanced data management capabilities, Dow Jones delivers specialized content at massive scale.

Yet even as it has grown into a global media powerhouse, Dow Jones retains the innovative spirit of its founders. The company actively cultivates emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain that have the potential to revolutionize finance and markets.

Shaping the Future of Financial News

As financial markets and media continue evolving in the 21st century, Dow Jones is positioned to still shape the future of business news and information.

The company faces both opportunities and challenges going forward:

  • New distribution platforms – Dow Jones will need to optimize its content for emerging channels like smart speakers, Over-the-Top video, in-car displays and wearables as media consumption fragments.
  • Personalization – By leveraging reader data, Dow Jones can tailor content and newsletter recommendations to individual interests.
  • Competition – Alternative business news outlets like Bloomberg, Reuters and Digiday have expanded digitally, competing for readership and advertising dollars. But Dow Jones retains key competitive strengths in the quality and reach of its content.
  • Paywalls – Dow Jones will need to strategically balance subscriptions, advertising and sponsored content to maximize revenue while continuing to attract readers.
  • Global growth – Expanding coverage in high-growth markets like Asia and Latin America provides new audience and revenue opportunities if Dow Jones localizes effectively.
  • Objective integrity – Maintaining editorial independence and avoiding politicization will be critical for Dow Jones publications to remain trusted sources.

By upholding its long-standing commitment to insightful financial journalism – while innovating fearlessly – Dow Jones is poised to retain its leadership well into the future. For over 130 years, Dow Jones has provided clarity on markets that empowers investors and executives to act decisively. That relentless passion for definitive business intelligence will enable Dow Jones to flourish through the 21st century and beyond.


In conclusion, Dow Jones & Company has been instrumental in shaping modern financial media over the past century-plus. From its founding in 1882, Dow Jones has expanded from a niche news bulletin to a global multi-media powerhouse. As publisher of The Wall Street Journal and operator of key market indexes, newswires, databases and digital sites, the company provides essential intelligence that drives markets and enables smarter investment decisions. While facing competition from new challengers, Dow Jones is well-positioned to lead business information services well into the future by leveraging emerging technologies and embracing new platforms and business models. With its formidable brand presence established over 130 years, Dow Jones will continue defining the future of financial news coverage and powering markets worldwide.