Wall Street Journal closing Boston bureau

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 30 2009 03:23 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2009 11:23 PM

WASHINGTON - Blaming an advertising slump that has left many US newspapers reeling, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday it was closing its Boston bureau.

Journal managing editor Robert Thomson announced the closure of the nine-member reporting operation in a memo to employees. "The economic background to the closure is painfully obvious to us all," he said.

Thomson praised the reporting done by the newspaper's Boston team but said "we remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable."

Thomson said there were no plans to close any other bureaus in the United States or abroad and said the Boston reporters would be able to apply for other jobs at the newspaper.

The Journal editor said an investigative reporting unit would remain in Boston along with reporters for Dow Jones Newswires and Marketwatch, which are also owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The move by the Journal comes just three days after the release of the latest circulation figures showed the newspaper had become the largest in the United States by weekday circulation, leapfrogging USA Today.

The Journal was also the only one of the top 25 US newspapers to increase circulation in the six months to September, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its circulation rose 0.61 percent to 2.02 million.

The US newspaper industry has been reeling from a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.