OLD Media Moves

WaPo readers respond to cut stock listings

November 14, 2006

Jill Dutt, the assistant managing editor of financial news at the Washington Post, took questions online Tuesday about the newspaper’s decision to cut stock and mutual fund listings, beginning with this morning’s paper.

Readers pointed out errors and expressed their displeasure with the decision.

A subscriber since 1989 from Clarksville, Md., wrote, “Whoever prompted you to make the changes in today’s Business section ought to be fired.

“This hodgepodge of information, combining stocks from the three major exchanges, asking for certain stocks to be included, etc., is preposterous, and absolutely non-helpful.

“In an effort to reduce the paper size (and I understand about cutting costs) cutting this section is absolutely a BAD DECISION.”

Dutt replied, “It was a difficult decision to cut back on the financial markets listings. I believe that providing Jill Duttthis data is an important reader service and have argued for years that we should not cut it. But, I had to rethink those arguments when every other major metropolitan daily newspaper cut their financial tables. The only daily newspapers I know of that still publish full listings are the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily. Even with the cuts we made today, we still publish more price/trading information for individual stocks and mutual funds than does the New York Times, the Financial Times,USA Today, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Times, etc.”

Then, there was this reader from the District: “I’m here to stick up for Jill and her section. In the face of mandatory cuts, they’re doing the best they can to make some kind of a logical, systemic decision.

“I don’t get why people are so up in arms about this. Stock tables are DATA, available in 100 different places online.

“Like it or not, the modern newspaper is shrinking due to budget cuts and the changing nature of the American media environment. I’d much rather have the WP use its precious X number of pages available every day to give me original reporting and analysis on local, national and international issues. Data (stock tables, sports agate, etc.) is a commodity and can be found anywhere.”

Read more here.

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