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Wall Street Journal to go tabloid

New format, new design, staff shifts, repositioning... Dow Jones is gearing up for the relaunch of The Wall Street Journal editions across the globe


May 14, 2005: In a once-in-a-blue-moon change, The venerable Wall Street Journal is going in for a design revamp. The Journal's Asian and European editions will go for a tabloid format, starting October 17, 2005. The Asian Wall Street Journal will be renamed The Wall Street Journal Asia. 

Both the Brussels-based Wall Street Journal Europe and the Hong Kong based Asian Wall Street Journal will be integrated more with the Wall Street Journal Online, its US-based parent company Dow Jones said. There will also be staff reductions at the Asian and European offices, and many of them may be moved to the US. There are no indications about the future of the The Wall Street Journal's tie-up with the Times of India Group to print WSJ in India.

Despite the staff relocations, the European edition will continue to be edited in Brussels and the Asian edition will continue to be edited at Hong Kong.

Established in 1889, The Wall Street Journal has a print and online circulation of nearly 2.1 million in US. The Wall Street Journal print franchise has more over 600 journalists world-wide, part of the Dow Jones network of nearly 1,700 business and financial news staff. Other publications which are part of The Wall Street Journal franchise, with total circulation of more than 2.6 million, include The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Wall Street Journal Online at, the largest paid subscription news site on the Web. 

Personnel changes will accompany the Wall Street Journal revamp. Frederick Kempe, editor and associate publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe, will return to New York effective August 1, in the new post of assistant managing editor, international, responsible for enhancing coverage the Wall Street Journal's print and online readers outside the US. 

Simultaneously, Raju Narisetti, currently managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, will succeed Mr. Kempe as editor. Both Mr. Kempe and Mr. Narisetti will report to Paul Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. Some other news jobs, primarily in Europe and Asia, will be relocated to the US, where the Wall Street Journal is preparing to launch its weekend edition on September 17, 2005.

The changes at The Wall Street Journal are part of a 2005 “Journal on the Move” initiative that includes launching a Weekend Edition on Sept. 17, to be delivered on Saturday mornings to all US subscribers. For Wall Street Journal readers in Europe and Asia, weekend coverage will appear in Friday editions.

With the redesign and relaunch, The Wall Street Journal also leaves its established policy of not accepting front page colour advertisements. Money pays, the Dow bosses have realised. "Advertisers will be able to reach this uniquely attractive global audience in print and online — in the US and abroad — through global advertising packages and new advertising positions, including more color advertising positions and, for the first time, front-page color advertising in Europe and Asia," a Dow media release said.

Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal, also expects that these international initiatives will also will benefit its shareholders by increasing profit and margins in its print publishing segment. Dow Jones expects to save approximately $17 million annually, beginning in 2006. In 2005, these savings will total about $5 million, before approximately $6 million to $8 million of cash restructuring and other one-time implementation costs.

The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Asian Wall Street Journal are the first pan-regional daily publications in their markets to move to the compact format. According to Dow Jones, newspaper publishing experience has shown that compacts (Dow's term of endearment for tabloid format) are increasingly popular with readers in many parts of the world.

“The combination of the new content and compact format, together with the online edition, will give our readers a more convenient and useful global business daily briefing package. We will thus provide our advertisers with the most efficient way to reach the world’s most influential and affluent audience of business decision-makers,” said Penelope Muse Abernathy, senior vice president, international and development, The Wall Street Journal.

John McMenamin, head of international advertising sales, The Wall Street Journal, said, “These new initiatives are an aggressive step to offer advertisers increased access to the Journal’s unparalleled audience by combining both print and online platforms, and shifting to a compact format that better lends itself to the needs of our global readership and the advertisers who want more opportunity to reach them.”

The newspapers will carry more themed and regionally relevant content and an updated statistics package, more navigational online tools, more stories and fewer jumps between pages. 

John Bussey, deputy managing editor, The Wall Street Journal, and the senior editor for the paper in Asia, said, “As the longest-established and leading pan-regional business publication in Asia, The Asian Wall Street Journal has been an innovator since its creation in 1976. This move further reinforces our commitment to covering the growth and vitality of the Asian marketplace, and of Asia’s role in the global economy for the Journal’s readers in Asia and world-wide.”

With a circulation of 80,883 — 72% of whom are in senior management — The Asian Wall Street Journal has for two decades been consistently voted the region’s “most important business reading” by Asia’s business leaders (ABRS 2004). The Wall Street Journal Europe, founded in 1983 and with a circulation of 86,156, has the highest-profile readership of its peers with 64% in senior management (EBRS 2004). It was the only pan-European newspaper to grow its share of the advertising market between 1999 and 2004.

“Our international readers need an authoritative, daily analysis of global business in a form that’s readily accessible and available — no matter where they are,” added Mr. Kempe. “Building on the established success of the compact newspaper concept in Europe, we’ll continue to offer the same award-winning, Journal — quality reporting and writing but packaged in a more convenient format. We’ll continue to build on our unsurpassed capabilities to provide concise focus on the main stories driving global business our readers won’t find anywhere else.”

In addition to The Wall Street Journal and its international and online editions, Dow Jones & Company publishes Barron’s and the Far Eastern Economic Review, Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Indexes, MarketWatch, and the Ottaway group of community newspapers. Dow Jones is co-owner with Reuters Group of Factiva, with Hearst of SmartMoney and with NBC Universal of the CNBC television operations in Asia and Europe. Dow Jones also provides news content to CNBC and radio stations in the U.S.


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