QUESTION FOR YOU: What Are The Revenues Of The Wall Street Journal And New York Times?

Panned by CJR.

Yesterday, in a post about Rupert Murdoch’s unhealthy (and, so far, unsuccessful) obsession with killing the New York Times, I noted that the WSJ’s financials weren’t pretty:

  • The New York Times has 1,100 journalists, circulation of 900,000, and an operating profit of $21 million (in 2009)
  • The Wall Street Journal has 750 journalists, circulation of 2 million, and an operating loss of $80 million (year through June, 2009)

Based on those facts, I suggested, among other more important things, the following:

The WSJ appears to pay its journos a lot more than the New York Times.

Heidi Moore, who worked at the WSJ, disagreed with this conclusion, suggesting that in fact it is the NYT who pays journalists more.  (I was including “editors” as journalists, which Heidi may not have been, but it’s obviously possible that the NYT pays its journalists more).  Now, obviously, the reason for the WSJ’s losses versus the NYT’s profits despite the latter’s much larger newsroom could also be the relative size of the companies’ revenue or something else in the cost structure, but the salary possibility didn’t seem so far-fetched.

In any event, Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum slammed me to the pavement for my obviously boneheaded analysis.  The reason for the losses vs. profits, says Ryan, is that the New York Times is a vastly larger business than the WSJ:

 [T]he Times brings in far, far more revenue per reader than the Journal does.

For one, the Times gets about $600 a year in circulation revenue for each unit of circulation, subscription or newsstand. News Corporation doesn’t break out these numbers, but it’s doubtful the Journal gets a quarter of that per head. A subscription to the print paper costs $119 a year (less if online only), and if you’re like me, you get your WSJ paper with airline miles equivalent to about $40.

Then there’s that whole Sunday paper thing. The Times has one, and the Journal doesn’t. The Times‘s ad pages dwarf the Journal‘s.

And that may be so.  I figured that the WSJ’s 2 million circulation (and the additional ad revenue that came from it) versus the NYT’s 900,000, as well as higher ad rates from business readers vs general interest, would offset some of the price difference, but perhaps not.  The companies don’t disclose the revenues of the respective papers, so there was no easy way to check.

So, to clarify matters, and get a better picture of the journalists’ respective salaries, I’ll put the question to the floor:

What are the respective revenues of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal?

Thank you!

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