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WSJ news: Cutting and posting

Alisa Roth Jan 1, 2007

BOB MOON: What if you threw a party and no one showed up? It’s a tough break for the Wall Street Journal. More than a year ago, the paper announced plans for a bold new makeover. Most noticeably, it’s trimming three inches from its width. There’s been a big build-up to the new design’s big debut tomorrow. But suddenly, much of the paper’s target audience seems likely to miss the first issue. Wall Street, as we mentioned, is shutting down to pay respects to the late President Gerald Ford. Ah, well. Point is, the change should save the venerated Journal around $18 million in newsprint and other costs. Here’s Marketplace’s Alisa Roth:

ALISA ROTH: The smaller format will mean about 10 percent less space for print stories, though that shift will be offset by putting some tables on the Web.

The new print edition will focus more on analysis and exclusive stories. It’ll leave breaking news to the web, where it can be updated frequently.

Journalism professor Phil Meyer is author of the book, “The Vanishing Newspaper, Saving Journalism in the Information Age.”

PHIL MEYER: Newspapers have to figure out how to use the Web. Putting the analysis in print so you can read it at you leisure and having the fast-breaking stuff on the Web makes sense to me.

Newspapers are also trying to find ways to stay profitable. Meyer says the Journal’s redesign seems like a good start.

MEYER: Nobody knows the smart way to do it, so it’s important to try lots of different things.

And the changes mean readers can save a little money, too. Both the print and online editions will be free tomorrow.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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