The Really Bad News For WSJ Staff Has Nothing To Do With Rupert

Conventional wisdom holds that a flood of Wall Street Journal reporters will stream out the door when Rupert Murdoch finally closes the Dow Jones deal. But the Times today points out the uncomfortable truth: Many of them will have a hard time finding a place to go. Of course, that’s not how the Times phrases it – the piece focuses on personnel cuts the paper would have been making had the Murdoch deal not appeared and suggests that an upside of Murdoch’s purchase is his promise to pour more money into the paper…

But the bulk of the story looks at the continued decline of print advertising, at the Journal and elsewhere. Some of those ad dollars are being transferred online, so it would stand to reason that sacked print journalists should be able to find work on the Web. Alas, this is not a one-for-one deal: When IBM dropped its ad spend at the Journal from $46 million in 2004 to $17 million last year, it’s a fair bet that many of the ad dollars it transferred went to search ads – or more accurately, Google. And as Google loves to point out, it’s not in the business of creating content. Which means it doesn’t hire people like, um, writers and editors. So who will?

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