Wall Street Journal Librarian a Victim of Cutbacks

The librarian who operates The Wall Street Journal's news research library -- which is set to close with the elimination of her job and another staffer's -- said in a memo to other librarians that the shutdown is both a personal difficulty and a hit to news coverage.

"When I asked who will do research for the reporters, I was told, 'No one,'" the memo from Leslie A. Norman, posted on a librarian list serve last week, stated. "The reporters will probably be using a Lexis product called Due Diligence Dashboard (you know how your moms told you 'if you can't say something nice...')" Editor & Publishers reports.

She later adds that it cannot replace the "knowledge about how to research using all the tricks we've learned over the years. We figure that the reporters will probably spend 10 times our compensation trying to do their own research."

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Corporate librarians becoming extinct

I am pretty shocked they decided to close that library. My company did that and it was a DISASTER, which is why six years later they hired a professional librarian.

I'm the only corporate librarian left in my industry in the whole state. The only way I survived the worst downturn is history was to keep extremely detailed stats. For instance I can prove that I saved my company $80k last year. I also do cost benefit analyses and email them to all the higher ups. I would also recommend becoming friends with people in Finance. A lot of times, they have more control over company staff reductions than the VPs or COOs.

Disturbing....

This Is My Personal Belief....

When you eliminate Librarians from Newspapers and leave reporters to (supposedly) "research" their on their own...oft times there befalls a certain lack of fact/truth that a Librarian with access to an "Authority File" can provide.

It leaves the reporter to be come "creative", and that is not always a good thing. Too often we have seen the side effects of "Creative Journalism".

Keep the Librarians, cut the reporter staff, after all are we not as literate or more so than journalists?

Drop the WSJ

Newspapers are in the information business. The idea of an information business that does not understand the importance of libraries and librarians is very disturbing.

Shouldn't librarians be backing their colleague and canceling their subscriptions to the WSJ?

I wish I could

I wish I could cancel WSJ as an act of solidarity, but my company would riot.

You have to be kidding

Recall the discussions on here when Incarnate Word college wanted to drop the print edition of the NYT.

Because one person gets laid off from a business you want to punish the library patrons by taking away something many of them use.

Lexis canned a few dozen people last month did you stop using them?

This is the crap that makes librarians look like idiots.

Not just to punish

Two concepts operating for libraries to drop the WSJ

1) To support their profession

2) To not buy a product that is inferior

Obviously Mdoniel disagrees with point #1. But here is the thinking for point #2. If a company that you bought from started to use substandard ingredients you would stop buying that product. The WSJ is in the information delivery business. By getting rid of their research librarians they are negatively impacting the quality of their paper. If they are going to use shoddy methods to put out their paper people shouldn't buy it. Newspapers should have the ability to provide depth and that means having strong resources to back up your journalism staff. Not just trying to get by with the intrawebs.

Outsourcing

What gives you the impression that they will have no library support. I talked to someone tangentially familiar with this and they will still have the ability to outsource research to librarians.

So one librarian is going, and while that is unfortunate and I feel short sighted, it is not the end of the world.

But if you want to run around like the world will end because some newspaper boots one employee live it up.

They could always walk down the street to the NYPL.

Shouldn't it be the opposite?

If you wanted to pushish the WSJ by making them lose money, you should be *encouraging* libraries to subscribe. That way people can read it at the library for free instead of purchasing their own copies, and the WSJ sales decline. :)

Oops.

I meant "punish" not "pushish."

WSJ losing librarian

And who owns the WSJ now? Is this the tabloid mindset invading responsible journalism?

I agree with You have to be kidding

"This is the crap that makes librarians look like idiots."

So she turned out not to be quite as indispensable as she thought, and turns out it had nothing to do with the economy. The bosses were working their way toward this all along.

Welcome to the world.

Every profession thinks that THEIR profession is the one that is truly indispensable to human life continuing on Earth. That THEY are the true brain surgeons / rocket scientists. (Journalists, engineers, librarians, IT people, you name the profession -- everyone thinks they are the brain surgeons.)

If the business model doesn't support having a librarian, then the business model doesn't support having a librarian. I can tell you that there are times when I wonder why librarians don't take a class from reporters. Librarians will search and search and search when a reporter would just pick up the damn phone.

The lesson here is don't relax. You have to be flexible and ready for the next thing. Stay on your toes. Stay competitive. I guarantee the WSJ will survive without the librarian. You need reporters to put out a paper. Even the copy desk can be cut.

Or else think the way that one of the posters above thinks:

"The only way I survived the worst downturn is history was to keep extremely detailed stats. For instance I can prove that I saved my company $80k last year. I also do cost benefit analyses and email them to all the higher ups. I would also recommend becoming friends with people in Finance. A lot of times, they have more control over company staff reductions than the VPs or COOs."

Just don't get all whiny on us. Newspapers are hurting. A lot of industries are struggling to find a business plan that works in the age of free content for all. If you aren't paying for yourself or filling up the space around the ads -- and on the electronic real estate -- then you are icing.

I find it offensive at times how librarians think they are the only folks who care about accuracy. And that they are the only folks qualified to perform research. Hello. Ever heard of investigative journalism? Show me a librarian who can do that kind of research and I'll show you a reporter.

Offensive

>I find it offensive at times how librarians think they are the only folks who care about accuracy.

I find it offensive how often reporters get it wrong and are not accurate. If they had a fact check system in place with their library maybe they would get it right more often.

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