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Posted by: Tom Lowry on October 29, 2009
Following on recent news of staff reductions at The New York Times and Forbes, The Wall Street Journal announced today that it is shuttering its Boston bureau, long a hub of education, mutual fund and investigative reporting. Nine reporters will be affected, according to a memo to staff from Journal editor-in-chief Robert Thomson. They will be able to apply for jobs elsewhere at the company. An investigative function will remain in Boston, suggesting that bureau chief Gary Putka and investigative reporters Steve Stecklow and Mark Maremont will remain. But the education and mutual fund reporting duties will shift to the Journal’s New York headquarters. “We remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable,” Thomson said.
The Journal’s newsroom has been abuzz for several weeks about possible layoffs. This comes as the period to accept attractive severance offers, made to senior staffers following News Corp.’s acquisition of Dow Jones at the deal’s close two years ago, is set to expire in December. That could prompt additional resignations from editors not wanting to miss out on a lucrative buyout deal.
Since late 2007, The Journal has laid off about 50 people, mostly due to the closing of the news desk in South Brunswick, N.J. and its fashion industry reporting bureau. Earlier this week, three people were let go from the color lab within The Journal’s art department.
Forbes announced this week it would be cutting staff, perhaps by as many as 50 positions. And The Times is looking to reduce its newsroom by 100, first by offering voluntary buyouts and then through layoffs.
The media, entertainment and marketing worlds continue to shapeshift on a near-daily basis, as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. Where is it all going? No one really knows. But on this blog BusinessWeek’s media writers Tom Lowry and Ron Grover promise to provide ample helpings of scoop, provocation, and sharp analysis as they track and annotate this constantly changing terrain.