WSJ to Start Local Section, Ad Pages

New England advertisers looking for educated, upscale readers in what one media buyer called a “credible business environment” will have a new alternative.
The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 1 will begin publishing a four-page weekly section called “New England Journal.” Editorial will cover the region’s business, financial and economic issues.
Advertising space in the new section, according to one media buyer, will be sold to local or regional advertisers at a “slight premium” over the cost now charged for regionally zoned editions of the newspaper, which are only available in New England on Mondays and Fridays.
Advertisers must commit to a minimum schedule of 13 consecutive weeks, according to media buyers. In exchange, advertisers will be protected from rate changes through 1998 and offered flexibility in their schedules.
Mullen media buyer Martha Cleary hailed the introduction. “There’s a need for really good business journalism that is local. … There’s a real opportunity for The Wall Street Journal in this market to step into that and help bring up circulation that has slid back in recent years,” Cleary said.
The paper has some 130,000 subscribers throughout New England, a number that has remained flat in recent years.
Cleary said she has already booked ads for BankBoston to promote Boston Plus, a product that targets older, upscale customers.
Arnold Communications media buyer Tim Davies said he has not yet committed to a schedule for his client, Fleet Financial Group, because the bank’s market extends beyond New England. Even so, “Any opportunity to advertise locally in The Wall Street Journal is a good thing,” he said.
In addition to financial services companies, the paper views telecommunications and healthcare companies as likely advertisers.
The new section will have its own staff. Caleb Solomon, a Wall Street Journal reporter and editor of “Texas Journal,” which launched in 1993, is putting together a team of three or four reporters. Katharine Leary in Atlanta heads up ad sales for the regional sections.
“New England Journal” is the fifth regional news section launched by The Wall Street Journal, which already devotes local pages to Florida, Texas and California, among others.