The most significant, if least-noticed, part of the Providence Journal's redesign is the axing of the business section. The paper is keeping business coverage in place, but it is scattering stories - local business news in the new, local-heavy A section and national, wire-service pieces in the new national, wire service-heavy B section.
The approach, as I write in the upcoming edition of the Phoenix, is not entirely foreign. Papers from the Los Angeles Times to the Denver Post have de-emphasized business coverage, though their approach is not quite so extreme - they have folded distinct business sections into larger sections, as opposed to scattering the business news.
The logic is clear - business sections are often filled with stock tables that are hopelessly out-of-date in the Internet Age, and the sections tend to generate less advertising revenue than other parts of the paper. And most at the ProJo seem nonplussed by the move. Business editor John Kostrzewa reportedly fought to hold onto a distinct business page, but has taken an optimistic approach to the new reality. Sources say business reporters, if a bit ambivalent, are hopeful that their stories will get good play under the new regime.
And John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, said he believes readers interested in business are savvy enough to find business stories.