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
    David T, 12 Feb 2009 @ 3:50am

    I think resistance to the idea might stem from the competitive nature of newspapers. They don't want to be "scooped" by rivals. The thinking probably comes from the time when breaking a story essentially gave you a 24 hour window to sell dead trees, aka. newspapers.

    These days breaking a story is nothing more than bragging rights among industry professionals (with a few exceptions). New stories appear everywhere digital faster than it can hit the stands.

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