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WSJ Laying Off 50 Staffers Amid Editorial Reorg; Plans To Add 95 Reporters In Coming Months

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WSJ is cutting 50 editorial positions as it moves to reform editing functions across print, online and mobile, according to a staff memo written by Robert Thomson, the News Corp (NYSE: NWS). paper’s managing editor. The Global News, Global Copy, Global Pagination, Monitor and the stand alone editing desks “will cease to exist” as the separation between those areas are taken down. The New York offices will be the central editing hub and most of the editorial operations in South Brunswick will be closed. While 50 staffers will lose their jobs as part of the restructuring effort, WSJ will be posting the new editing desk jobs by Friday. The dismissed staffers can apply for the new positions in New York. The editing operations in New Brunswick were created after the attacks on Sept. 11 affected WSJ offices, forcing the company to move some duties and people to that location — which is where most of the job cuts will come from, Thomson said.

The cuts were not blamed on the usual pain associated with the rising costs of running a newspaper or the decline of ad revenue. Thomson’s memo cites investments over the past few months in a “significantly larger newshole” and adding new hires in “long-vacant” reporting posts. Thomson: “Our new budget includes an ambitious expansion of our web and international operations, both for the Journal and for Newswires, where we are adding 95 journalists over coming months. We also have secured a generous investment in a state-of-the-art editing and publishing system. There is good reason for optimism at Dow Jones amidst the pessimism prevailing in our industry.”

The internal memo from Thomson, below:

—–Original Message—–
From: Thomson, Robert
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:30 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Subject: Staff Announcement

With the Journal’s new leadership team in place, we are reforming our editing structure and changing fundamentally the way in which we produce The Wall Street Journal in its manifold forms. The reasons for these changes are strategic, even if some of the benefits are economic. The full memo appears after the jump.

Beginning next month, the news hub in New York will be responsible for editing copy and producing pages across all our platforms