The Wall Street Journal sharply cut its Washington, D.C., bureau staff on Thursday, letting nearly 20 reporters and various editors go as the paper re-envisions the bureau’s reporting structure.
The restructuring is part of the Journal’s strategy to “deliver trusted, ambitious reporting for our readers in an election year and beyond,” editor-in-chief Emma Tucker wrote in a memo to the Journal newsroom, which was obtained by The Daily Beast and first reported by The New York Times. The paper will shutter its D.C.-based business team and U.S.-China-focused team, while some economics jobs will fall under a New York-based team’s purview. The paper’s law bureau chief will also oversee judiciary-related stories.
The Journal declined to comment.
The bureau’s focus will now be on politics, policy, defense, law, intelligence, and national security, Tucker wrote. Some of the affected staffers include multiple deputy bureau chiefs and reporters covering policy, according to multiple Journal sources.
In all, 16 reporters and one columnist were let go, according to IAPE 1096, the union that represents Dow Jones publications. It is unclear how many editors were affected.
The layoffs were previously reported by multiple news outlets, though official word to staffers did not arrive until Thursday morning. Managing editor Liz Harris, alongside deputy editor-in-chief Phil Izzo and chief news editor Elena Cherney, delivered the news to staffers in a meeting that lasted about five minutes and offered little clarity on the layoffs’ impacts, two sources told The Daily Beast.
Thursday’s layoffs come at a transitory moment for the Journal following Tucker’s appointment last year. She spent the early months of her tenure launching a content review, which saw top editors eventually depart the paper or switch roles. That included the move of then-Washington bureau chief Paul Beckett to a new role dedicated to securing reporter Evan Gershkovich’s removal from Russia. Beckett’s replacement, Damian Paletta, will start next week.
The job cuts are also markedly different from those at The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications forced to let staffers go over financial challenges. News Corp, the paper’s parent company, reported increased profitability in its first fiscal quarter, noting in a November statement by CEO Robert Thomson that the “positive performance in the quarter follows the three most profitable years since the creation of the new News Corp.”