‘WSJ’ Eyeing Local Sections for Chicago, L.A., Seeing ‘Antipathy’ Among High-End Readers for Tribune Papers

By: E&P Staff

As it looks to expand the local coverage launched in New York this spring, The Wall Street Journal has conducted focus groups in Chicago and Los Angeles – and sees “a growing antipathy among high-end readers towards what’s happened to their local newspapers,” says Les Hinton, (left) CEO of Dow Jones & Co. and the Journal’s publisher.

Hinton made his comments in a joint interview with Journal Managing Editor Robert Thompson conducted by paidContent’s Staci D. Kramer. The two were interviewed at last week’s D8 conference.

Asked about expanding the local section concept to other cities, Hinton referred to “antipathy” of readers who meet the Journal’s demographic with Tribune Co.’s flagship Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.

“We haven’t decided what our next local edition will be but the basic principle of seeing once great and highly valued local newspapers being diminished is what we’re looking at, a big opportunity,” he aid.  “So you could say that some of the big markets, maybe Chicago, maybe L.A., where we’ve done focus groups and see a growing antipathy among high-end readers, towards what’s happened to their local newspapers, that might well be opportunities. For the money, it’s going very well. Robert’s really concentrating his efforts on making New York and the coming enhanced weekend edition as good as possible.”

Hinton, E&P’s publisher of the year in 2010, declined to say whether other local sections would be launched later this year or in 2011. Read the entire interview here.

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