Jessica Lessin is emerging as the Wall Street Journal's newest nemesis. Since leaving the powerful newspaper several weeks ago to set up her own media shop, Lessin is making it clear that she means business.
Lessin was one of the paper's best known and most widely followed bylines when she covered Apple from the San Francisco bureau. She worked tirelessly and built a following that most journalists would kill for.
As of today she has accumulated more than 671,000 followers on Facebook, which has become one of the truest measures of a working journalist's fame.
Earlier in July, Lessin had what TheWrap called a "doozy" of a hire, namely former Journal colleague Amir Efrati. He specialized in covering Google, another high-profile beat at the Journal, and other Internet subjects. More from TheWrap: http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/ex-wsj-tech-reporter-jessica-lessin-hires-wsjs-amir-efrati-...
Lessin has given scant details of her plans for a publication or a business and won't confirm whether she seeks world domination of Silicon Valley coverage (Quipping aside, don't put it past her).
The departure of Lessin was a big enough blow, but by hiring the well regarded Efrat, she is sounding a call to the Journal and other establishment media operations that she is quite willing and able to woo their talented journalists. More on Lessin and Efrati: http://jessicalessin.com
It would be a delicious irony if Lessin succeeded in recruiting journalists that the Journal wanted to hire. Talk about a Jessica and Goliath rivalry.
In a Tale of the Tape, the WSJ offers remarkable prestige, (relative) job security and ample resources.
In her favor, Lessin, can make available an exciting possibility of helping to build something significant.
I got to know her a little when she covered the Journal media beat in New York for a few years (I worked down the hall at MarketWatch, for the same corporate employer, Dow Jones).
She seldom made small talk and seemed to be on the phone with her sources 24/7. She knew what she was doing.
Lessin's exit is a sign of the times, in a way. Behemoths like the Journal may now face the reality of not being as attractive as they used to be.
Newspapers (and magazines) everywhere are cutting their staffs as a way to keep pace financially and the notion of job security has given way to the popular phrase "job insecurity."
True, Lessin looks like a pipsqueak today compared with the establishment in journalism. I don't know what she is gunning for as a business entity, but like I said, don't bet against her.