Wall Street Journal to get new look in U.S
By Paul Thomasch
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dow Jones & Co. on Tuesday said it
would reformat its flagship Wall Street Journal newspaper in
the United States, narrowing the business daily’s pages to cut
costs and make it more reader-friendly.
Its U.S. edition will remain in its broadsheet format. But
its tailored dimension, narrowed by the equivalent of about one
of its current columns, will make the paper more similar in
size to the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or USA Today.
The Wall Street Journal’s redesign will also include fewer
jumps to additional pages for a story, less space devoted to
basic market data and more space to statistical analysis.
The moves are the latest in a series of changes at the Wall
Street Journal, where revenue has been hard hit by a slump in
business to business advertising.
“Clearly there is an attraction to saving money,” said John
Morton, a media consultant. “Readers also apparently prefer
smaller size newspapers. Of course, the Journal has always held
itself above that — until now.”
The narrower-sized newspaper would launch by January 2007,
the company said, adding that it would retrofit 19 presses in
the next 15 months at an estimated cost of $43 million. It
expects the overhaul to cut earnings by about 7 cents per share
in 2006, then add 13 cents per share in 2007 and afterward.
Shares of Dow Jones were up 13 cents at $36.61 on the New
York Stock Exchange.
Dow Jones had already announced plans to revamp the Asian
and European editions of the Wall Street Journal into a more
compact format. By repackaging its European and Asian business
dailies as a tabloid size, rather than a broadsheet, the
publisher expects to see about $17 million of savings each year
beginning in 2006.
Karen Elliott House, the publisher of The Wall Street
Journal, said the change in the U.S. edition will ease
circulation and distribution of the newspaper, while making it
easier to read.
“We will also achieve significant cost savings, mainly in
reduced usage of newsprint, that will further improve Journal
profitability,” she said in a statement. The company estimates
the changes will eventually save about $18 million a year.
The alterations, which comes amid rising energy and
newsprint costs, is the latest in a string of recent moves at
the 123 year-old paper, including the introduction of the
Weekend Journal of Fridays and the launch of the company’s
Perhaps the biggest change occurred last month, when the
publisher moved to a sixth edition during the week with its
Weekend Edition on Saturday. The extra edition is aimed at
drawing a broader mix of advertisers, and includes more content
that management refers to as “business of life” stories.
“We think it’s a good move,” Morningstar Inc. analyst James
Walden said of the narrowing, adding that newsprint is often
one of a paper’s most significant costs.
“We were also happy to see they are using less space for
market date, given that readers can use the Web to see
statistics online closer to real time,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Michele Gershberg)