The Wall Street Journal and sister newswire Dow Jones are trimming the masthead as it moves to a more digitally oriented future.
The headcount reduction will be about 100 employees, according to a company spokesman Thursday. The news staff for both Dow Jones and The Journal total 1,800. The Indepenent Association of Publishers’ Employees represents unionized Dow Jones & Co. workers.
Investors didn’t react much to reports of the layoffs, as shares of parent company News Corp. edged up 2 percent to $14.52 at the end of trading.
In a memo sent by Dow Jones, editor in chief Gerry Baker outlined the company’s plans to shut down the bureaus in Prague and Helsinki, and close the Bahasa Indonesia Web site. A number of bureaus in Asia and Europe will be reduced, as well, and in New York, the small business group and the economics team will be eliminated. Economics coverage will be centralized in Washington D.C., and the personal finance team will shrink. Baker did not provide a numbers.
Insiders did not foresee the layoffs impacting either WSJ Magazine or Off Duty, as both departments are run pretty lean. The company did not address either department, however.
“The media environment in which we operate continues to change at a dizzying pace,” Baker said. “New media proliferate and business models are disrupted, dismantled and reconstructed with lightning speed. For traditional news organizations, it is no longer sufficient – if it ever was – simply to seek to evolve and adapt to this climate. They must transform themselves.”
In order to do that, Baker reiterated the company’s strategy of reaching the target of 3 million subscribers across Dow Jones in the next few years and to continue to grow its professional subscription business.
He emphasized the need for consumers to be “convinced” to pay for subscriptions in order to secure future growth, even though advertising revenue is core to the business.
In the third quarter ended March 31, revenue from News Corp.’s news and information division, which makes up 65.6 percent of the company’s overall revenue, slid 9.1 percent to $1.35 billion from $1.49 billion.