Engaging inquisitive minds

Shalini Shukla 21 Nov 2012
One of the world’s most trusted publishers of accurate financial news and business information, including The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company was established more than 130 years ago. The news hub has a large and dedicated local news team numbering more than 700 employees in Asia, essential in terms of understanding the local communities and their most pertinent political, economic and social issues.

Curiosity is an innate quality which is ingrained in every employee around the world. Most importantly, employees must maintain the highest standards of ethical behaviour and integrity. “Individuals and corporations put a lot of trust in Dow Jones as their source of news and information, so we must always ensure we are completely trustworthy as a source,” says Christine Brendle, Managing Director – Asia Pacific, Dow Jones & Company.

“Our 2,000 journalists and thousands of sales and corporate colleagues worldwide are individually and collectively representatives of the Dow Jones brand; their conduct reflects on the organisation’s broader reputation,” she adds.
It comes as no surprise then that employees are extremely in tune with their career progression and of opportunities across the wider Dow Jones organisation.
True talent mobility
Dow Jones & Company provides opportunities for mobility across functions and across geographies. For example, many of its Hong Kong editors and reporters originally joined Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal in another country.

Employees who hold roles in corporate or business functions also have the opportunity to move to other countries, in addition to mobility within the broader News Corporation network of businesses worldwide.

“Few media groups have the global scale and reach of Dow Jones, with 85 news bureaus worldwide, so international mobility is a strong attraction for employees looking to grow and learn with us professionally,” says Brendle.

Dow Jones also encourages key talent to learn from their counterparts in other markets, resulting in a constant exchange of knowledge and ideas throughout the organisation.

This is facilitated as part of everyday working life and encouraged by the organisation’s open-plan offices. Many employees’ responsibilities are also regional in scope and therefore they travel on a regular basis. This in itself encourages open communication between markets so that best practices can be shared.

“We recruit and train employees for global deployment,” says Brendle. “Our editors and reporters frequently move on to new cities and reporting functions every few years, thereby exposing them to the Journal’s global news operation and providing them successive opportunities to develop and apply their reporting and analytical skills.”

For example, the Journal’s editor-in-chief in Asia held reporting roles in Washington, DC, London, Stockholm, Brussels and New York City, before relocating to Hong Kong in 2009. Similarly, the Journal’s current Hong Kong bureau chief, who began in 2011, previously edited the Journal’s Money & Investing section from New York City. These opportunities for movement extend to all editorial employees.

Staff are also supported throughout the entire relocation process and a working culture of sharing experiences and learning from each other is actively encouraged.

With this fluid mobility of talent, there comes a challenge which keeps Brendle ‘up at night’. “The safety and well-being of our employees, some of whom work exceptionally hard to cover breaking news and events in challenging environments, is something I constantly have at the back of my mind,” she says.
Investing in what matters most
This emphasis on being a global Dow Jones employee also allows the company to promote talent from within. Business unit leaders across the organisation regularly review their staffing levels and arrange for succession planning to ensure that they have the appropriate bench strength and a solid pipeline for employees’ professional growth and development.

“For example, our regional sales manager for Northeast Asia, based in Hong Kong and with responsibility for our institutional sales efforts spanning Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and South Korea, joined the organisation more than a decade ago in a more junior sales role and has progressively taken on more responsibilities before assuming this latest leadership position,” says Brendle. “Her professional development is a great example of our efforts to build and promote talent from within.”

Dow Jones also has an annual appraisal process and encourages managers to regularly provide feedback to their teams to encourage on-going development. “We focus on maintaining the excellent performance of our employees by offering constant new challenges and opportunities,” she explains.
Staying ahead
While Dow Jones has a respected brand name and is an employer of choice for reporters and editors across the world, attracting and retaining talent is still an important priority. “To maintain our competitive edge in the market, we have introduced a range of competitive benefits and development opportunities for employees,” says Brendle.

For example, the news and information provider has recently launched an employee assistance program that provides employees and their families with support across a range of career and personal issues. These include career and personal life conflict management, cultural diversity in addition to support with personal and family matters including parenting guidance. These services are also extended to our employees’ families.

It has also developed its own signature digital training programme for its news team – ‘DJ@DJ’, or ‘Digital Journalism at Dow Jones’ – which provides important skills development for its journalists while contributing to the organisation’s own continued leadership in reporting.

‘DJ@DJ’ brings together a group of Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires journalists from around the world to New York City to participate in a week of intensive learning, training and discussion on digital journalism. It aims to enhance the way they tell stories across multiple platforms using words, photos, blogs, video and graphics. These journalists are also provided with the hardware, typically an iPhone, that they can use in everyday reporting.

“This unique programme, which is facilitated by our digital team in the US, is available to all our journalists globally and aims to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in our dynamic and evolving newsrooms around the world,” Brendle explains.
Bio brief
Christine Brendle is managing director of Dow Jones in Asia and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Asia.

Based in Hong Kong, she leads the development of all Dow Jones brands across the Asia-Pacific region, including The Wall Street Journal Asia, Dow Jones Newswires, Factiva and DJ FX Trader, among others.

Brendle joined Dow Jones in February 2006, following a 17-year career with Hachette Filipacchi spanning various senior management positions across Asia, the US, and Europe.

From 1995 to 2001, Christine served as president and chief executive officer of Hachette Filipacchi Asia-Pacific. Previously, she was vice president for the Asia-Pacific region and managing director for Hong Kong and mainland China. She also held previous roles with Hachette Filipacchi in Japan, New York City, and Paris.

Brendle also spent several years as a media-industry consultant and publishing entrepreneur. In 2004, she co-launched Daily7 and Daily10, two daily English-language newspapers for children.
Christine received an MBA from the Graduate School of Business Administration of Columbia University in New York CIty, and a diploma from ESSEC (Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales) in France.
•        I love: Working across so many unique countries and cultures in the Asia-Pacific region.

•        I dislike: A lack of curiosity; fortunately this is not something I encounter when working with my employees at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.

•        My inspiration is: Boosted by the intelligent commentary and analysis stemming from our news bureaus around the world.

•        My biggest weakness is: Not being able to say ‘no’ to my children, whom I love so much.

•        In five years’ time I’d like to be: A homeowner in Hong Kong, finally!

•        Favourite quote: “Point n’est besoin d’espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour perséverer.” This roughly translates as, “One needs not be hopeful to undertake, nor successful to persevere.” I am action-oriented so this quotation from Guillaume d’Orange of France resonates with me today, 12 centuries after he first said it.
Letting loose
The business of news can be all consuming due to its 24/7 nature. However, Dow Jones ensures that staff maintain a healthy work life balance.

The company holds various social events and celebrations throughout the year – perfect opportunities for staff to let their hair down and to integrate with other employees from across the region.

“We take advantage of the appropriate opportunities to come together socially—particularly when celebrating our successes and welcoming visiting executives and colleagues from overseas offices,” says Christine Brendle, Managing Director – Asia-Pacific, Dow Jones & Company.

Recently, Brendle and 19 other Dow Jones colleagues participated in the Stanley Dragon Boat Championships in Hong Kong. They had more than 100 Dow Jones colleagues and customers cheering them on from aboard the Aqua Luna Chinese junk. “That was our first year to compete and a terrific opportunity to bring together teammates from a wide range of functions and business areas,” says Brendle.

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