Cutting Back  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   December 2002

Cutting Back   

Declining revenues at the Wall Street Journal lead to news staff layoffs.

By Kathryn S. Wenner
Kathryn S. Wenner, a former AJR associate editor, is a copy editor at the Washington Post.     


A week after Peter Kann, chairman and CEO of Dow Jones & Co., warns of impending layoffs because of declining revenues, 23 Wall Street Journal news staffers get the bad news and eight others accept voluntary separations. Among those laid off are reporters Jess Bravin, Kathryn Kranhold, Jerry Markon and Francine Schwadel, who headed the legal team, which was eliminated along with the regional economics team. "If you take two or three out of a group that size, it no longer has the critical mass necessary" to do the job right, says company spokeswoman Brigitte Trafford. The Journal will still have the resources to cover those beats without sacrificing quality, she adds. Tom Lauricella, reporter and newsroom director for the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees, says staffers scoff at "the notion that the type of work that those people were doing can easily be picked up by anyone else." "We understand that this is an incredibly difficult business environment," Lauricella says, but "nobody I've talked to in the newsroom believes this was the only option the company had."

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