2008-07-24 / Front Page

Wall Street Journal reduces editorial staff

South Brunswick office drastically affected

T he Wall Street Journal has cut 39 positions and is relocating 11 more, mostly from its South Brunswick offices.

Eleven of the affected positions will be relocated to the Wall Street Journal's New York City offices.

"[The cuts were mostly from] the pagination desk and the copy editing desk," said Bob Christie, vice president of communications for Dow Jones & Co. "They will be here for a few more months. Then, they will have the opportunity to apply to positions in our New York office."

Christie said that Dow Jones expects to hire about 95 journalists in the near future. The cutting of editors and the hiring of journalists is one of the main reasons for these changes.

"The goal is fewer editors, more reporters," Christie said. "We want to print what the readers want, and that's more stories."

The changes are part of a newspaper-wide restructuring plan.

"Dow Jones is committed to improving the Journal's operations and efficiencies by restructuring our daily news operations for both print and online in order to become a fully integrated, digital newsroom," according to a statement from Dow Jones. "The result will be a streamlined operation allowing us to disseminate news faster and more efficiently, which ultimately better serves the reader. However, the Journal continues to add and expand in areas of content and staffing while others are getting smaller."

Managing Editor Robert Thomson, in a note to the staff, said that the changes are "strategic, even if some of the benefits are economic."

Thomson also talked about the South Brunswick offices.

"Most of the editorial operations in South Brunswick will be closed," Thomson wrote. "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."

Christie did say that the South Brunswick offices will not be completely shut down.

"The printing facility is still down there, some news operations will still remain down there," he said.

Christie said the cuts were made from the South Brunswick office simply because that's where the expendable jobs were located.

"It's part of a new merge, where we'll relocate to one central office in midtown Manhattan," he said.

Thomson is generally optimistic about the situation in his letter.

"Our situation should be put in its contemporary context," he wrote. "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."

South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, however, is concerned about the situation.

"It's indicative of the economy being very, very fluid," he said. "It's not a good economy right now. It's just another stick that's thrown into the fire when we talk about economic recovery."

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