Robert Thomson, the wily Aussie installed by Rupert Murdoch as editor of the Wall Street Journal, wants his newspaper to be big in Japan. And Europe. And Chicago. And Los Angeles.

Which only makes sense, since Wall Street doesn't seem to have much of a future. Since News Corp. bought the newspaper last year, it has been expanding coverage of general-interest subjects like politics and sports. Sure, Journal publicists are milking the market-meltdown story for everything it's worth. But in the long run, it can't be healthy for a business newspaper to see its core readership disappear.

So Thomson is set on stealing other newspapers' readers. At a recent media conference, he mentioned L.A. and Chicago as markets he'd like to take on, as those cities' dominant dailies shrink away to irrelevance. (The Huffington Post, too, has made plans to expand in Chicago. Who knew Chicago was so interesting?)

His plan for increased local coverage would seem more impressive if the Journal hadn't tried expanding regionally in the '90s and failed. But hey, he's only been on the job a year! Institutional memory is for oldtimers.

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