‘Wall Street Journal’ to Shed 50 Editing Positions

By: E&P Staff

The speculation has been rampant for some time now that The Wall Street Journal would pare down some of its copyediting functions. Sure enough, Robert Thomson, editor of the Journal made the announcement in a memo to staff today.

He wrote that editing and page production will be handled in New York and will serve all platforms. The global news, global copy, global pagination, monitor and standalone WSJ.com editing desks “will cease to exist” and most of the editorial operations in South Brunswick, N.J., will be closed starting in August. The result will be a loss of 50 positions.

“I realize that this reorganization will be a challenge operationally and, for some of you, personally,” Thomson wrote. “It is obvious that the South Brunswick team created in the wake of September 11 attack is bearing the brunt of these changes. The individuals most affected will be counseled about their options and their opportunities.”

The full memo follows:

Colleagues,

With the Journal’s new leadership team in place, we are reforming our editing structure and changing fundamentally the way in which we produce The Wall Street Journal in its manifold forms. The reasons for these changes are strategic, even if some of the benefits are economic.

Beginning next month, the news hub in New York will be responsible for editing copy and producing pages across all our platforms – in print, online and on mobile. The Global News, Global Copy, Global Pagination, Monitor and the standalone WSJ.com editing desks as we know them will cease to exist and most of the editorial operations in South Brunswick will be closed.

We will be posting the new editing desk jobs no later than Friday and genuinely encourage all staffers affected by this announcement to apply for these openings in New York. About 50 positions will be lost, but staffers with the highest skill levels and the enthusiasm to acquire new skills will have a distinct advantage during the selection process. A detailed explanation of the new structure will be sent to you shortly.

The reformed structure means that it is essential for reporters and bureau chiefs to ensure that copy filed to the news desk is clean, to length and conforms to our style. Stadium Editing will be a practice of the past and design, for both print and web, will be integral to the evolution of each story and every page.

I realize that this reorganization will be a challenge operationally and, for some of you, personally. It is obvious that the South Brunswick team created in the wake of the September 11 attack is bearing the brunt of these changes. The individuals most affected will be counseled about their options and their opportunities.

Our situation should be put in its contemporary context. In recent months, we have invested in a significantly larger newshole, contrary to the industry trend, and filled long-vacant reporting positions in many bureaus. Our new budget includes an ambitious expansion of our web and international operations, both for the Journal and for Newswires, where we are adding 95 journalists over coming months. We also have secured a generous investment in a state-of-the-art editing and publishing system. There is good reason for optimism at Dow Jones amidst the pessimism prevailing in our industry.

Yours,
Robert

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