The JCPenny Exclusive (Business Insider: Analysis #5)

By Sonia Su

Unlike previous articles I have chosen to analyze, this week’s article, “INSIDE JCPENNEY: Widespread Fear, Anxiety, And Distrust Of Ron Johnson And His New Management Team,” has, as of writing, 16,749 views, which is a comparably low number. Yet, the fact that it has exclusivity from JCPenny “execs” adds interest and value for me.

ron-johnson-jcpenney-astrid-stawiarz
JCPenny CEO Ron Johnson / CREDIT: Astrid Stawiarz for Getty Images

Although anonymous sources decrease an article’s credibility, I always like to believe that an established news outlet will not risk lying about sources, especially in a case like this, when the sources are at the heart of the story. Of course, there have been exceptions. Case in point: I am choosing to believe that these sources are real to focus on other aspects of this article.

To start, I like that the writer provides background of the CEO and stats on the company’s financial status, which adds relevance and context for readers. I also like the clear organization with subtitles. In general, the article is easy to read.

As with any good online article, in addition to linking to outside sources, this one has the occasional hyperlinks to its own content:

“Most importantly, they worry about their own livelihood, explained the execs. There are few ways to destroy employee morale faster than letting them work in constant fear.”

Although the article may be taken as libelous, it is not completely so, offering the occasional counterarguments:

“Retail workers are generally left in the dark about corporate changes, often to avoid strategic initiatives from being leaked. While this occurs at many major retail companies, it’s particularly true at JCPenney. … The good news is that JCPenney does have some store employees working hard to make Johnson’s vision a reality.”

Nevertheless, employees everywhere, not exclusive to JCPenny, face occasional hardships and anger, which only adds doubt to a source’s veracity when these factors can cloud otherwise more accurate judgment.

In general, this was an interesting read and reinforces communication as an essential part to success for any business.

Side note: Just saw Business Insider’s post, “There’s Been An Unprecedented Shift In Attitudes About Gay Marriage.” I don’t like how it was organized — the main idea is the shift, yet the delayed lead makes me just want to skim until I get to the Pew stats. I do enjoy the visual graphs, but it would have been more impressive if Business Insider created them.