'Journal' becomes slimline to reduce costs

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The Independent Online

It was a case of new year, new look for the bible of America's finance industry, as the Wall Street Journal unveiled its slimmed-down design and resolved to change its news values to reflect the internet revolution.

The paper, a national institution of 117 years standing, has shaved 20 per cent from the width of its pages in an attempt to save about $18m (£9m) a year from the costs of producing and distributing the paper.

"We'd rather invest in news people than in newsprint," Gordon Crovitz, the Journal's publisher, said. "The almost unanimous reaction among readers in focus groups was that this would make the newspaper more convenient and literally handier."

In 2005, the Journal's European edition followed a trail blazed by The Independent by converting to the compact shape.

Now the width of the Journal in the US has been cut from 15in to 12in. Copies were being handed out free across the country to promote the changes.

With a combined print and online circulation of just over 2 million, the Journal is the second-best read paper in the US, after USA Today. But in common with most big newspapers, it has been in decline, down 2 per cent on the year before in the six-month period to last September.

The redesign is part of an attempt to return the paper to consistent profitability. Its parent company, Dow Jones & Co, makes money but its consumer media group made an operating loss last year.

Advertising revenue at the Journal has risen this year, thanks to business confidence and the boom on Wall Street.