The Wall Street Journal Offers Buyouts to News Employees


Dow Jones, owner of The Wall Street Journal, has said it is in the process of reviewing the company’s operations.

Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal is making buyouts available to a “substantial number of employees” as the news company reviews its operations amid a continued slide in print advertising.

In an email to staff on Friday, the Journal’s editor in chief, Gerard Baker, said it is offering “enhanced” buyouts to all newsroom employees “to limit the number of involuntary layoffs.”

“I regret of course the need for such a move, and I appreciate deeply the dedication all of you continue to show through challenging times,” he said. “I’m confident this process is the right one to set us on the right footing for renewed growth in the years ahead.”

The email to employees Friday didn’t specify how many employees the company hopes would take the offer. Staff have until the end of the month to request a buyout.

A spokeswoman for Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Journal and part of News Corp, declined to comment further.

It was later revealed in an email from Barron’s top editor that employees at Dow Jones’s weekly business magazine would be laid off next week. The note—apparently intended for a Dow Jones executive and human-relations personnel, but mistakenly sent to The Journal newsroom—raised concerns that the seemingly better terms being offered in the buyout package by The Journal “could create some problems” at Barron’s.

The Dow Jones spokeswoman declined to comment on the Barron’s email. A person familiar with the matter said the layoffs at Barron’s affect a small number of employees, all of whom have been informed.

On Wednesday, Dow Jones announced a review of its operations, driven by a significant decline in print advertising.

Dow Jones Chief Executive William Lewis said the review, dubbed WSJ2020, would seek to come up with an action plan for the next three years and identify the best ways to rebalance revenue streams as the news industry continues to undergo a tumultuous shift toward digital and mobile, in particular.

Global spending on newspaper print ads is expected to decline 8.7% to $52.6 billion in 2016, according to estimates from GroupM, the ad-buying firm owned by WPP PLC. The accelerating drop in print advertising has forced many publishers to consider significant cost cuts and changes to their print and digital products.

The Guardian and the U.K.’s Daily Mail recently eliminated jobs, and the New York Times said further downsizing is expected in the newsroom early next year.