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September 17, 2015

Wall Street Journal Europe to print 50 per cent more content as it switches back to broadsheet

By William Turvill

The European edition of the Wall Street Journal has switched to broadsheet format ten years after it moved to being a tabloid.

The switch has not been accompanied by an investment in journalism but does, according to WSJ’s Europe editor, feature 50 per cent more content than the compact edition – at the same price, £1.70.

The WSJ Europe edition recorded an average circulation of 66,843 in the second half of 2014, according to ABC. Of these, 43,000 are bulks (not actively paid-for) and a further 14,000 are controlled free circulation.

The WSJ’s main US edition is already in a broadsheet format, and production of the European edition and Asian edition – which has also this week switched to broadsheet – has moved to New York.

Europe editor Thorold Barker said broadsheet is the “best possible” format for the WSJ in Europe.

He told Press Gazette: “We have the ability to have a full-colour paper. We have two sections, so we have the ability to showcase our business tech and finance content and also our A-section content, much better.

“We have 50 per cent more content and so it’s a much bigger publication and we have the opportunity to show a much richer cross-section of the content we’re producing every day around the world.

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“And I just think it allows it to breathe much, much better. The tabloid format, it did feel slightly squished in, and this allows you to really see quite how strong the content is.”

He said the format switch has not been accompanied by many editorial changes – other than the fact production has switched from London to New York – but that it provides “a window into our global reporting”.

He said: “Historically, we were producing a huge amount of content around the world that didn’t necessarily get the treatment and the showcase in print it could have done in Europe and Asia.”

Across the world, WSJ has around 1,800 journalists.

Asked who he sees as WSJ’s main rivals in Europe, Barker said: “From a print perspective, the FT is obviously a big competitor… the New York Times, and then digitally obviously the likes of Bloomberg as well are competitors: the people who play in our space of… business, finance, economics and geo-politics. So those would be some of the obvious ones.”

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