Wall Street Journal Eying L.A. Times' Turf

The Wall Street Journal is reported to be pondering a Los Angeles edition as part of its expansion into cities that could be perceived to have weak local news dailies. Last week the paper moved into the Bay Area with a weekly edition following the threatened closure of the San Francisco Chronicle. The New York Times has also moved into that city.

The Journal's possible invasion of L.A. was outlined by Dow Jones & Co. CEO Les Hinton, who told company employees at a meeting this week that Los Angeles and Chicago were possible targets of a local edition of the Journal, according to Bloomberg News.

Both cities are dominated by newspapers owned by the bankrupt Tribune Co. Both papers, like most in the nation, have suffered steep declines in advertising and subscribers and have been scrambling to make transitions to online business models.

The Journal, now owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., home of Fox studios and news, is a must-read publication for the business class and is thus believed to have a more loyal, moneyed audience that can, perhaps, help it survive the tumult facing print news operations.

It's targeting of the Los Angeles and Chicago markets isn't unusual. Like San Francisco, papers in those cities have been struggling, and the Journal probably senses blood in the water.

The Journal has also become of the envy of the newspaper world because it has found a way to charge online readers for "subscriber content." But that luxury seems to only be afforded more specialized outlets.

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