2:33 pm Jun. 21, 2012
Dow Jones today told employees at its personal finance magazine, SmartMoney, that it would be shutting down the title's print edition and expanding it online.
The Dow Jones wire itself was the first to report the news.
In a conference call this afternoon conducted by Dow Jones editor-in-chief Robert Thomson and a company human-resources representative, SmartMoney staffers were told that July 23 would be the final closing date for the magazine and that they would remain on payroll through Sept. 1. The H.R. department will start meeting with staffers around 2:45 p.m. this afternoon to discuss whether they will still have jobs.
As a consolation for those whose positions are eliminated, employees were told on the call (which was described to Capital) that they will be able to apply for roughly 20 open positions within Dow Jones, which also owns The Wall Street Journal. A handful of those positions will be with SmartMoney.com.
SmartMoney was launched jointly with Dow Jones in 1992 and acquired fully by Dow Jones in 2010. Thomson said on the call that at the time, the company wanted to make the magazine profitable, but that in the end, it just wasn't making enough money. As Forbes' Jeff Bercovici notes, ad pages were down 23.4 percent in the first quarter.
"Our colleagues at SmartMoney magazine have done extraordinary work during the past two decades and we should laud their contribution to the company and to journalism generally," Thomson, also The Journal's managing editor, said in a memo emailed to staff after the conference call. "Our SmartMoney web operation will be expanded and provide opportunities for some who will be affected by the closure of the magazine, as will other just-approved expansion plans for the print Journal."
Simultaneosuly, a press release was distributed touting a "digital transition" and an expanded digital team.
According to the release, SmartMoney's September issue, on newsstands August 14, will be its last. Roughly 25 jobs will be eliminated as a result of the print edition closing up shop, while the editorial staff of SmartMoney.com will increase to 15, including six new editorial staff positions.
"Transitioning to digital" has become the euphemism of choice these days for companies that make the call to either slash or reduce the frequency of their print titles. It's the same way Advance Pulications characterized its recent decision to cut back the New Orleans Times-Picayune to three days a week, eliminating about a third of the newsroom in the process.
You can read the Dow Jones release below:
NEW YORK, June 21, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dow Jones & Company announced today that SmartMoney, the personal finance magazine from The Wall Street Journal, will make a digital transition that will include the expansion of its digital news team. As part of the transition, the print edition of SmartMoney will cease production this summer, and the magazine's September issue, on newsstands August 14, will be the final issue.
To expand the brand's digital reach, the editorial staff of SmartMoney.com will increase to 15, including six new editorial staff positions. The New York-based team will report to Raju Narisetti, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.
Approximately 25 staff positions for the print edition are being affected as part of the print magazine's closing, with those affected eligible to re-apply for open positions with SmartMoney.com and other openings within the company.
"SmartMoney has led the way in personal finance coverage for 20 years. It has been honored with many awards and provided intelligent, objective analysis and guidance for readers in print and online. It's clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the web," said Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Company and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. "The team should be extremely proud of what it has achieved and be excited by the prospect of what it will achieve."
"I am proud of the exceptional journalism that the hard-working and talented staff of SmartMoney has produced in recent years and am grateful to the Journal, and to Robert Thomson specifically, for providing us the opportunity to produce it," said Jonathan Dahl, editor-in-chief of SmartMoney. "I look forward to seeing SmartMoney's legacy continue at SmartMoney.com."
In addition to SmartMoney.com, all content and tools from the site will be available on an expanded co-branded personal finance section on MarketWatch.com. This move also extends the digital reach of the SmartMoney brand to MarketWatch's nearly 17 million monthly visitors from SmartMoney.com's 2.5 million monthly visitors. (Source: Internal/WSJDN)
"Personal finance coverage in print and online remains a critical part of The Wall Street Journal and The Wall Street Journal Digital Network," says Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer, The Wall Street Journal. "The addition of SmartMoney's strong, trusted content and innovative tools will be a needle-moving addition to MarketWatch's already strong portfolio of content. A dedicated advertising sales team is being assembled in order to ensure the continued success of the site."
MarketWatch, which has seen a 50% growth in traffic over the past 12 months, currently offers deep and broad personal finance coverage across a range of topics – including real estate, spending and saving, credit cards, small business and more – as well as up-to-the-minute markets coverage for active investors. SmartMoney.com's content will also deepen retirement and tax coverage for the section.
SmartMoney was launched jointly between Dow Jones and Hearst Corporation in 1992. Dow Jones acquired Hearst's remaining 50% interest in 2010. The magazine won three National Magazine Awards and was a finalist 14 times.
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