Wall Street Journal Changes

If you are a fan of the Wall Street Journal, or just like history, you’ll be interested to know that the WSJ rolled out its new edition today. (Incidentally, you can pick up a WSJ free at your local news stand today, and the online edition is also free today).

WSJ was spending $115 million a year on newsprint, so they decided to shrink the paper. They cut off 3 inches from the width of the paper, making it now 23 x 12 (instead of 23 x 15). That is basically the same size as a regular newspaper.

This effectively removed one column of news from the paper (a 10% reduction in news space, they said). WSJ says the print edition is going to focus more now on in-depth reporting and analysis, and has moved all of its financial tables and breaking news to WSJ.com exclusively. That’s the big kicker for me, because that marks a pretty big shift in strategy.

WSJ spent $56 million over the last year to retrofit their printing presses to the 3-inch change. They estimated that the reduction in size would save them $18 million a year in newsprint, and thus would realize some actual savings some time in year four of the new, smaller edition.

"Dow Jones says the narrower width, which reduced the size of the paper by about one column, or three inches, will save about $18 million a year. Moving to a more standard format used by other newspapers will also allow the Journal to be printed in more places."

I’d be interested in hearing Jim and Mike P’s thoughts on this, I just thought it was an interesting story, but I’m a geek so … maybe not interesting for the rest of you.

and has moved all of its financial tables and breaking news to WSJ.com exclusively.

There’s a million places on the internet you can get that stuff now, so I think they’re doing the right thing…

Now, if they would only make their online access free. I used to love those great deals I got when I was a student…

Agreed. I thought it was interested, though, that they’re doing away with them since a lot of their older readers may not be as internet savvy and wouldn’t know you can already get them free elsewhere … shift in focus for them.

[QUOTE=Brick Tamland, Weather;208067]
(Incidentally, you can pick up a WSJ free at your local news stand today, and the online edition is also free today).

Even better, they were people handing them out this morning in downtown Charlotte. I didn’t even have to go to a newsstand.

Most major newspapers have gone through a reduction in paper size over the last few years (NYT, the Post, USAToday, etc). Most aren’t as drastic as 3" though. I know the N&O in Raleigh’s reduction was less than 1". Another change in some papers (including the N&O) is that they are longer printing every stock/fund daily information. All the info is still available on the web, but in the paper (to cut down on paper used) they only print a list of some major stocks, the major gains/losses, and stocks of regional interest.

Generally speaking papers are having to (fundamentally) change from being a print newspaper to being more of an information portal that uses the newspaper as well as the web. Changing from supporting a once a day dispenser of information to a supporting a 24/7 web portal is a big shift in the way things work. All papers are trying to figure out the best way to make that change.

I remember about 10 years ago there was a minor breakthrough in the invention of digital paper, but nothing has come of it yet. I’m sure “they” are still working on it (whoever invented it), but if that could really break through, that would really help that industry.

(Someone invented a nearly-paper thin surface that, I think, used magnetism to align some metallic pieces in the paper into words and text … based on what the computer was telling the magnet and activating it within the “paper”. I could be wrong on the technology, but, the premise was that you could digitally download something to this “paper” and take it with you … and if that ever really happened, then in theory you could subscribe to a newspaper, and it would “change” each day, and I guess even more theoretically, could update multiple times per day on your “paper” or even in real time via wi-fi. Again, nothing ever came of it, but that would really help the industry, because I do like the formatting of an actual newspaper, but I 100% prefer the immediacy of electronic communication like the internet.)