Writing Is on the Wall (Street)

The venerable Wall Street Journal, which has struck to the traditional broadsheet long past most other newspapers in the country, today appeared on my doorstep a bit midgetized.  Instead of six columns, the front page sported just five with a narrower width to match.  What’s going on?  I didn’t see any announcement of the rationale.

Obviously, Dow Jones and Co. is under financial pressure to cut costs, and saving on newsprint expenses is one big way to save money.  Staff cuts and the like, I’m sure, are an ongoing strategy, coupled with the recent paper’s decision (rare but getting more common) to sell advertising space on its front pages.

Tradition is out at the WSJ.  I wonder how long the paper with the largest circulation in the U.S. can hold out.  I remember being the editor of a group of weekly newspapers back in the 1990s, and we tried all these strategies to break even.  Eventually, the owner wearied and pulled the plug.  I’m not sure that’s going to happen any time soon on Wall Street, but there are ominous signs.

Hopefully (there I go with that word again), the Wall Street Journal will outlive me.

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