The Wall Street Journal is closing its Boston bureau, affecting nine reporters.
The bureau was responsible for the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winning series on backdated stock options, which might explain why managing editor Robert Thomson says in a memo, the Journal will keep an “investigative function” while disbanding the “core reporting team.”
The nine reporters are welcome to apply elsewhere in the paper.
It’s just more bad news for the news industry. Yesterday, Forbes had brutal layoffs. BusinessWeek was sold for a tiny sum, and will probably face layoffs, and Time Inc. is rumoured to be letting people go. Not to mention Conde Nast, and the New York Times, who are letting people go as well.
In this case, it appears as though there was significant Dow Jones overlap in Boston. In his memo, Thomson says, “the Newswires bureau and the MarketWatch team in Boston will remain at their present staffing levels.”
Here’s the full memo from managing editor Robert Thomson to the staff:
From: Thomson, Robert
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:26 AM
Today we told our team in Boston that we are closing the bureau in its present form. The economic background to the closure is painfully obvious to us all. An investigative function will remain in Boston, but the core reporting team will be disbanded, though all nine reporters affected will certainly be able to apply for openings elsewhere on the paper. Coverage of the Boston mutual fund industry will switch to the Money and Investing team and we are creating an enhanced New York-based education team. Any such decision inevitably stirs apprehension and uncertainty, but there are no plans, nascent or otherwise, to close any other U.S. or international bureau. Meanwhile, the Newswires bureau and the MarketWatch team in Boston will remain at their present staffing levels.
That there has been truly great reporting under the generalship of Gary Putka out of Boston over many, many years is not in doubt. But we remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable.