Wall Street Journal Gets Rid Of Its Research Librarian

from the what-are-they-doing-instead? dept

Apparently, the Wall Street Journal has eliminated the two research librarian jobs at the paper with no plans to replace them. The idea, apparently, is that reporters should be doing their own damn research from now on. I actually have rather mixed feelings on the news. At a time when newspapers should be focused on providing a better product to remain relevant, you have to wonder if removing research services makes sense. However, the question remains as to whether or not the position is really needed. This is not -- at all -- to suggest that research librarian aren't quite good at what they do and provide a truly valuable service. But, it is true that the tools for research have become much cheaper and accessible for anyone.

And, therein lies the challenge. If the WSJ were willing to replace the lost librarians with a crowd-sourced or "open" research process, that might be quite interesting. While not let the community help with the research? In many ways that could be a lot more effective and useful. But, somehow I doubt that's what's going to happen. Traditional newspapers still have this fear of tipping off anyone as to what they're working on until the "final story" is ready to go. So, they'll probably just remain as closed as usual. At the same time, though, why not create a more centralized "research" service that various news organizations can tap into, so that they don't duplicate efforts. By making more information more accessible, shouldn't it improve researching ability?
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Filed Under: library, newspapers, research
Companies: wall street journal

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  1. identicon
    SC, 12 Feb 2009 @ 8:35am

    Two Elements at Work in this Story

    1) Newscorp is cutting costs. Why employ librarians when they can give our remaining reporters databases and the Internet? Nowadays, in the news world it's more important to be first than it is to be accurate. Much of our population is so dumbed down do you think they'll notice the difference in the long run?

    2)A reference librarian is trained to use a variety of resources (inc. print) to obtain correct information. They are a conduit that helps the researcher to consider many resources or change tactics in order to conduct research. This is a loss to what's left of journalism.

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