Breaking: WSJ To Close Boston Bureau

The Wall Street Journal is closing its Boston bureau, announced today, with all nine reporters invited to “apply for openings elsewhere on the paper,” we’ve learned.

The “unthinkable” closure is a response to the “profound economic downturn,” according to a memo sent by editor in chief Robert Thomson.

Thomson also wrote that “there are no plans, nascent or otherwise, to close any other U.S. or international bureau.”

The Boston bureau was led by Gary Putka, who has been at the Journal since at least 1986..

More on this as it develops, and after the jump, the memo:

Today we told our team in Boston that we are closing the bureau in its present form. The economic background to the closure is painfully obvious to us all. An investigative function will remain in Boston, but the core reporting team will be disbanded, though all nine reporters affected will certainly be able to apply for openings elsewhere on the paper. Coverage of the Boston mutual fund industry will switch to the Money and Investing team and we are creating an enhanced New York-based education team.
Any such decision inevitably stirs apprehension and uncertainty, but there are no plans, nascent or otherwise, to close any other U.S. or international bureau. Meanwhile, the Newswires bureau and the MarketWatch team in Boston will remain at their present staffing levels.
That there has been truly great reporting under the generalship of Gary Putka out of Boston over many, many years is not in doubt. But we remain in the midst of a profound downturn in advertising revenue and thus must think the unthinkable.