Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Layoffs Come to The Wall Street Journal, Too: Boston Bureau Closing

The layoff ax swings close to home today: The Wall Street Journal is closing its Boston bureau, which will result in up to nine job losses. News Corp. (NWS), which owns the Journal as well as this site, has been pouring resources into the paper, but the Journal certainly isn’t immune to the pressures that all print publishers are under these days.

Here’s the internal memo from Journal Editor-in-Chief Robert Thomson:

From: Thomson, Robert
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:25 AM
To: WSJ All News Staff; Newswires_USERS
Subject: Boston

Today we told our team in Boston that we are closing the bureau in its present form. The economic background to the closure is painfully obvious to us all. An investigative function will remain in Boston, but the core reporting team will be disbanded, though all nine reporters affected will certainly be able to apply for openings elsewhere on the paper. Coverage of the Boston mutual fund industry will switch to the Money and Investing team and we are creating an enhanced New York-based education team.

Any such decision inevitably stirs apprehension and uncertainty, but there are no plans, nascent or otherwise, to close any other U.S. or international bureau. Meanwhile, the Newswires bureau and the MarketWatch team in Boston will remain at their present staffing levels.

That there has been truly great reporting under the generalship of Gary Putka out of Boston over many, many years is not in doubt. But we remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work