'Wall Street Journal' 3.0 Debuts Jan. 2

New Format to Save Dow Jones $18 Million

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- When the redesigned Wall Street Journal, a smaller-sized and more forward-looking paper, appears Jan. 2, it will represent an important station along the trail from traditional newspapers to news delivery of the future.

Photo: Darryl Estrine

L. Gordon Crovitz, exec VP, Dow Jones & Co., and publisher of 'The Wall Street Journal' enjoys the cost-savings.
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Wall Street Journal redesign

Of course, it's not all about changing reading habits and coordinating print and online operations in more complementary ways. Like every other paper, the Journal is subject to the old-world problem of rising newsprint costs, so it is also quite interested in the $18 million annually the smaller format will save.

"$18 million in cost savings -- that's material," said L. Gordon Crovitz, exec VP, Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of The Wall Street Journal, after an event this morning detailing the new look of the Journal. "I'd much rather spend that on newspeople than newsprint."

Strategic execution
But reception to the strategic execution, which involves using the web for breaking news and reducing straight news reports on paper, will be closely watched by both newspaper and magazine pros. Everyone's got to figure out how to keep print vibrant while digital continues the growth spurt of an adolescent.

The Journal wants to encourage people to use both its print and digital iterations. "Some publishers say they aspire to be platform-neutral," Mr. Crovitz said. "We want people to access the Journal throughout the day."

Paul E. Steiger, managing editor, said he is aware that some print readers don't use The Wall Street Journal Online and that some web subscribers don't read the print edition. "We're not saying the paper is half a body," he said, calling it a complete read despite a news hole that's being reduced by another 5% with the redesign.

News from all directions
But its executives understand that people get news all the time from all directions. "If you're part of the culture of consumption of business news, whether you use ours or not, you're going to get something during the day," Mr. Steiger said.

Other changes in print include expanding letters to the editor, doubling pop-culture coverage and simplifying page jumps so readers don't have to work so hard to finish reading articles.

The paper is also beginning a "mentoring" program to make its print and web editions available free to young executives at work, the suggestion of an ad-agency executive whose young, exceptionally well-prepared employees go blank when discussion turns to any subject 10 degrees off the news they know they need to know. That, Mr. Crovitz said, is because the younger crowd gets all its news online.

A promotion on Jan. 2 will also make the paper available free on newsstands to allow readers to sample the redesign.
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