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June 2001

June 2001
Journal Gyrations


A dozen reporters and editors inside The Wall Street Journal say that early next year, the 112-year-old business publication will begin to use color on its front page, which will be redesigned. These sources say that the alterations are part of a plan to add color to all sections (currently limited to the Weekend section and occasional use elsewhere inside the paper), and that the front page will likely include more breaking-news articles. Tinkering with the front page's six-column layout would be dramatic but not without precedent. In 2000 the Journal redesigned its European edition, just as it had done earlier in the year with its Asian edition. Both front pages now have banners and section headlines printed in blue ink, run only two features, and stack three breaking-news stories horizontally across the right half of the page.

Wall Street Journal spokesman Richard Tofel wouldn't confirm or deny possible design changes, but he did say that modifications to the paper's presses will allow for greater use of color (an increase from 8 pages to 24) and expand the paper's maximum length (from 80 pages to 96). Tofel says that the press modifications are aimed mainly at increasing advertising revenue through the sale of color ads and will enable the paper to run additional pages when more ads are sold.

Another reason to change such a well-recognized brand, says one Journal reporter, is "to attract more newsstand sales and younger readers." Not unlike the paper's latest advertising campaign, which includes such slogans as "The Wall rise up and flee your cubicle Street Journal" and was designed by the agency responsible for the "Got Milk?" ad campaign, the Journal's redesign certainly seems to be part of a strategy to appeal to a younger audience, only 7 percent of which are 25- to 34-year-olds. But traditionalists inside the Journal urge caution on the part of management, lest any alterations to the financial-news idol alienate current readers. Says one reporter: "They must weigh any changes against the icon factor."

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