The new year has not been kind to The Wall Street Journal. There was news of cuts in January–the second round in three months–that the paper was initiating to cut costs. There was the much-criticized memo from editor in chief Gerard Baker to staff calling on them to steer clear of the “very loaded” description of the nations included in President Trump’s travel ban as “majority Muslim countries,” a precept he later loosened. And just yesterday, there came the announcement that Rebecca Blumenstein, the paper’s popular deputy editor in chief, described by Politico’s Joe Pompeo as the “newsroom’s de facto leader,” was moving to The New York Times after more than two decades at the Journal to serve as the Times’ deputy managing editor.
To address the concerns and questions arising from WSJ’s 2017 turn of events, as well as some longer-simmering ones about the paper’s general state and style of Trump coverage, Baker has announced a town hall meeting for employees that will take place this coming Monday. The purpose of the town hall is for Baker to discuss comprehensively the issues, concerns and questions staff may have relating to the paper. The paper’s top-down directives surrounding elections and Trump coverage, around which “foment is brewing behind the scenes,” according to Pompeo, is likely to be a prominent topic of discussion:
For several months, reporters have been using a confidential email chain to discuss their concerns, according to people who have participated in the emails but declined to share any because they are private. There have also been several internal meetings where some of the Journal’s most senior editors under Baker have fielded “testy” questions about the paper’s political coverage, according to sources familiar with how the gatherings went down.
There will be plenty to discuss, that’s for sure.