The Wall Street Journal's new two-section print edition arrived Monday, resulting in a faster read.
Gerard Baker, executive editor of Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, touted the reduction as a plus. No cuts in subscription prices were mentioned.
In the new format, the old Business and Tech and Money and Investing sections have been combined into one Business and Finance section.
The separate Personal Journal and Arena sections, including sports and arts coverage, have been folded into the A section. The old standalone New York metro section, which only readers in New York received, is gone, with some metro news appearing in the A section.
After a 21 percent drop in print advertising last quarter, the WSJ moves look like desperation, although Baker insists its a step forward. Layoffs and buyouts accompanied the reduction.
As a longtime reader, I found jarring the appearance of sports and arts news in the A section following pages of international and national news, then succeeded by the opinion pages, which mainly deal with politics and economics. Seeing sports columnist Jason Gay's "sig" where news from Europe and China used to appear was disorienting.
The halving of the business sections appeared extreme, but I often found the two sections repetitive. I often discovered interesting explanatory pieces on business or the economy at the back of each section; I hope such analytical articles continue.
The New York Times and other papers are also taking radical steps to preserve print publication after a precipitous drop in ad revenue. The overall prognosis for print is grim.
The Journal news comes as the weekly New York Observer, owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law, announced the end of its print edition.
In another sad print death, the Daily Reveille, LSU's venerable student newspaper, announced a few weeks ago that it is going to online publication.
While print advertising sinks, online advertising sputters along. Despite years of publishers' hopes that Internet advertising would give the same economic base for news reporting as print once did, the Web model has never achieved the necessary revenue.
It looks as if the future of news will belong to Internet vehicles such as Goggle and Facebook. Whether they will provide the same quality "content" that newspapers long provided - aka as news - is questionable.