OLD Media Moves

Is the Wall Street Journal cutting back overseas?

January 31, 2006

In a story in the American Journalism Review about the New York Times’ efforts to revamp and revitalize the International Herald Tribune, the reference is made that the IHT is going up against the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times for overseas readers.

In that context, there is a discussion as to whether the Wall Street Journal is cutting back its European operations. The article states: “Prognosticators, including Tribune insiders and Bertrand Pecquerie, director of the World Editors Forum in Paris, predict the overseas Journal will succumb, citing as evidence owner Dow Jones’ decision to convert its Far Eastern Economic Review from a weekly to a monthly in December 2004, its shrinking international operations and its move in October to remake its broadsheet in Europe and Asia into a compact tabloid.

“Though both the Times Co. and Dow Jones refuse to release financial information regarding individual properties, Penelope Abernathy, senior vice president of the Journal’s international division, flatly dismisses the oft-repeated notion that ‘the Wall Street Journal is pulling back and retreating in Europe and Asia. It’s absolutely not true.’ The overseas Journal’s predicted demise is ‘wishful thinking’ on the part of the Herald Tribune, says Abernathy, who formerly worked for 13 years at the Times Co.

“The Journal’s switch to a compact edition in October, one of Dow Jones’ major initiatives in 2005, has succeeded beyond ‘what we could have hoped for,’ she adds. Integrating the print edition with the Journal’s Web site – with its 764,000 paid subscribers – gives the Journal a huge advantage over the Financial Times and the Herald Tribune, says Kate Dobbin, Dow Jones’ director of corporate communications.”

The article also makes this comment about the IHT’s business coverage: “The paper’s business coverage is ‘much better now than it was, but it’s still not as good as the Financial Times or the Economist,’ according to [former IHT staff member Axel] Krause. And, he says, ‘there’s not much investigative or original reporting.'”

Read the entire article here.

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