WSJ cuts means threats to consumer reporting
Harwell writes, “Personal-finance advice is far from extinct. The digital era has seen a proliferation of blogs such as the Billfold and Consumerist in offering financial guidance, budgeting tools and tips for consumer self-defense.
“But the Journal, with its location at the heart of financial America and outsize spending on financial coverage, offered the kind of critical investigative bent on issues, such as investing risks, credit-card fees and health insurance, that tended to make it the paper of record for such topics.
“‘It takes a lot of resources, it takes a lot of commitment . . . and it’s work. Hard work. You need somebody to back you up,’ Olen said. ‘That’s one of the reasons this is such a tragedy. When you looked at the Wall Street Journal, you pretty much knew what you were getting. . . . But most people don’t have the expertise to sort out what has or hasn’t been vetted, and they will just simply never know.’
“Trudy Lieberman, a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review and longtime consumer-affairs reporter, said the harder-hitting journalism of the 1960s and ’70s first struggled in the ’80s amid resistance from advertisers of financial instruments such as mortgages and mutual funds.”
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