The Wall Street Journal slashed about 20 jobs in its Washington bureau Thursday, adding to a raft of journalism jobs cut since the start of the year.
Journal Editor in Chief Emma Tucker said in an email to staffers that the business new outlet’s Washington bureau will now focus specifically on “politics, policy, defense, law, intelligence and national security.”
“This means the business team in Washington is closing as is the Washington-based U.S.-China team,” the memo said. The editing team was also pared, with the D.C. News desk ceasing operations. Damian Paletta, formerly the deputy business editor, was named the new Washington Coverage chief.
Laid-off staffers will be allowed to apply to some new jobs created to replace the coverage, Tucker’s memo said.
“It is imperative that we have the right structure in Washington to deliver trusted, ambitious reporting for our readers in an election year and beyond,” Tucker wrote.
The editor wrote that they are “creating a new team in Washington” and “seeking experienced journalists with deep sourcing and a track record of major scoops,” but that the vacancies on the new team will be open to the journalists who were laid off.
The cuts came the day after the startup The Messsenger suddenly shuttered Feb. 1 after it blew through $50 million in less than a year, leaving about 300 journalists out of work. Staffers have sued over the mass layoffs.
And they came on top of a brutal January for the media industry, with last least 528 news jobs lost in the first month of the year, according to Challenger, Grey & Christmas. The cuts include legacy news organizations like NBC News, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, which eliminated at least 115 jobs, or roughly 20% of its staff, along with digital media outlets like Business Insider, TechCrunch and Pitchfork.
The cuts are reflective of a depressed advertising market and changing media habits.
The Journal, which is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, did not say exactly how many jobs were cut.
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