[em]Wall Street Journal[/em] Strategy Project: Union “Watching Carefully”

IAPE 1096, the union representing Wall Street Journal staff, responded to the Dow Jones memo outlining the company’s new “strategy project” with a memo of its own. Full text after the jump.

Friends – on the heels of the outsourcing of 31 IAPE-represented employees today in South Brunswick comes the news that management will review the company’s news operations, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and Dow Jones Newswires, with the intent of improving them.

However, management must take pains not to mistake attrition for efficiency, or sacrifice quality in the pursuit of cost savings.

Too often, efforts to improve the quality or scope of Dow Jones publications — including the recent launch of the Journal’s Weekend Edition and, before that, Personal Journal — have instead left new ventures with fewer staff and resources than they need or were promised, and came with short-sighted cost cuts elsewhere in the enterprise….

We applaud management’s goal to “maximize the value of .. our best journalists” , but caution that this must not mean attempting to do more with less. After six years of belt-tightening, Dow Jones and its news operations – like IT and other sectors of the business – are already short-staffed and overworked.

Seeking “new opportunities across media channels” and reducing emphasis on commodity news may well prove to be laudable goals. However, it will be a grave disservice to readers, advertisers and other customers if these phrases ultimately translate into more work for the same, or fewer, reporters and editors.

Today’s announcement to DJ news staff is of particular concern in light of the company’s recent decision to outsource finance, customer-service and information-technology jobs to companies without Dow Jones’ track-record of quality and commitment to the highest levels of journalistic integrity.

We hope Dow Jones management understands that their decisions in this initiative will have far-reaching repercussions for the reputation and quality of its publications. As the company has repeatedly said, its future depends on the people who report, write, edit and produce the news and information it disseminates.

IAPE strongly encourages management to involve the union and its members in this project, and will be watching carefully to ensure that whatever changes Dow Jones makes are conducted within the provisions of our contract. We look forward to working with management to make its newest initiative successful for readers and customers, and those who produce its publications, as well as for shareholders.

Steve Yount
President
IAPE 1096