Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WSJ, Dow Newswires consolidated in single unit

In a bid to flatten the management structure, Dow Jones & Co. has merged The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Factiva into a single division, with a new chief at the top, the company said yesterday.

In the new structure, Todd Larsen has been named president of Dow Jones, with responsibility for commercial operations, according to a company statement. Meanwhile, Stephen Daintith has been named Dow Jones' chief operating officer, with oversight for strategic guidance; he retains his chief financial officer duties as well

Larsen had been chief operating officer of the Consumer Media Group, which includes the WSJ, Barron's and MarketWatch.

In the switch, Clare Hart has resigned as president of what had been the Enterprise Media Group, the division that comprised the Newswires, Factiva, Financial Information Services, and other operations.

The new structure unites Enterprise Media and Consumer Media within a single division; the company statement does not identify the new division's name, however. Remaining a standalone unit: the Local Media Group, comprising eight daily newspapers and 15 weeklies in six states.

Apparently anticipating suggestions that Hart had been pushed out, Dow Jones' CEO Les Hinton says in the statement: "This isn’t about personalities, and it’s not about costs. It's about the best way to operate an information business at a time when technology provides new tools for delivering news and new opportunities for keeping businesses and individuals informed."

In a story today on the move, the WSJ says: "Since News Corp. bought Dow Jones more than two years ago, it has pushed the staffs of the Journal, Dow Jones and MarketWatch to work more closely together. The business-unit merger announced Monday immediately unites the news operations fully under Robert Thomson, managing editor of the Journal and editor-in-chief of Dow Jones." Thomson had shared oversight of Dow Jones Newswires with Hart.

The combination doesn't involve any layoffs among Dow Jones’s roughly 6,000 employees, a spokesman, told The Associated Press in a story published by The New York Times.

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