Wall Street Journal unveils new design
EmptyNEW YORK -- The Wall Street Journal introduced a smaller, re-designed format on Tuesday that publisher Dow Jones & Co. hopes will save money and help make the paper more appealing to a wider base of readers, especially younger ones.
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.
The new design leaves about 10% less space for news stories, but half of that loss is being made up by cutting back on the amount of stock tables and other statistical data in the paper. Along with the changes in the print version unveiled Tuesday the Journal also launched a more robust online feature for tracking financial markets, www.WSJMarkets.com.
As part of a promotional campaign, the Journal is making about half a million copies of the paper free on newsstands on Tuesday and opening up its Web site, WSJ.com, to non-subscribers for the day. Many of the changes are aimed at bringing in younger readers with an easier-to-read presentation of news.
"Readers told us that the Journal could better tailor its efforts to how, when and where you access news," Gordon Crovitz, the Journal's publisher, said in a letter to readers.
As for the reduced size, Crovitz said, "the almost unanimous reaction among readers in focus groups was that this would make the newspaper more convenient and literally handier."
Early reaction was positive. Melissa Pordy, media director for the advertising firm Cheil Communications America, called the new design "very reader-friendly," noting that fewer stories "jumped" to other locations in the paper, making it easier to navigate.
A number of major newspapers have already moved to the smaller size, including USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, leaving the Journal as a holdout with its more traditional wide width. The New York Times is also reducing its width next year.
Pordy said she didn't think the Journal's smaller size would reduce its stature. "I don't think it's lost any of dominance or authoritativeness or its voice in the marketplace as a leading national newspaper," she said.
In an interview, Crovitz said he had already received hundreds of e-mails Tuesday about the new design, which he described as "overwhelmingly positive."
"They say it is still the old Journal to them, and that it feels familiar," Crovitz said. "They find it's easier to navigate, which is what we intended."
Despite the closing of U.S. financial markets on Tuesday because of memorial services for former President Gerald Ford, Crovitz said "99% of our readers are at work as normal today."
The overhaul comes as the Journal is navigating tense contract negotiations with a union representing editors and reporters at the paper, the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees. On Tuesday the union took out an ad in The New York Times criticizing some of the company's contract proposals.
Crovitz said Dow Jones' talks with the union were continuing and there was "very widespread pride and enthusiasm" among the staff regarding the overhaul.