As The Wall Street Journal rolls out its new, thinner format, the staff at parent Dow Jones & Company fear less paper means less room for news - and less need for reporters, editors and production staff.
In addition to providing information in a more convenient physical package, Journal Publisher L. Gordon Crovitz said the paper is focusing on content that is more about "what the news means" as opposed to simply "what happened." Crovitz told the New York Daily News the new design will save $18 million in newsprint costs and allow Dow Jones to produce the Journal at more printing plants than it had previously.
In December, the company moved to eliminate what it called overlaps in coverage by the Journal, its online edition and the Dow Jones Newswires. At the time, the New York Post cited an internal memo as saying a new group within the newswires would be responsible for all breaking corporate news, freeing up the WSJ.com staff to generate more online content. Journal reporters would focus on developing more analytical pieces, the memo said. Among other moves, the Journal closed its three bureaus in Canada, leaving coverage there to its beat reporters.
Dow Jones Chief Executive Rich Zannino has been intent on reducing costs since he took over from Peter Kahn last year. However, both he and Crovitz have said the redesigned Journal and last year's company reorganization will allow them to maintain staffing levels. Previously, Zannino has said the company "can't expense its way to profitability."
The company has begun contract negotiations with the Independent Association of Publishing Employees, which could thus far be described as early but tense.