FOR YEARS, PUNDITS HAVE BEEN PREDICTING that newspapers would disappear with the onslaught of television, radio, and other electronic media. And while reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated, the newspaper is being forced to adapt rapidly. Thanks to the explosion of personal computers and online networks, many papers such as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The San Jose Mercury News have electronic services. The latest? Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal.
In March, Dow Jones Business Information Services, the electronic publishing arm of Dow Jones, will launch the Personal Journal. Its software runs on IBM-compatible PCs with Microsoft Windows and a 9,600 bits-per-second (or faster) modem. Subscribers can instruct the software to dial a local number to retrieve Dow Jones business news on selected companies, their favorite Journal columns, and trading information for up to 25 stock symbols and mutual funds. The text of the Journal is expected to be available as early as 3 a.m. and updated frequently throughout the day. For $12.95 a month, subscribers can download a personalized paper once a day; each additional call costs 50 cents.