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The Wall Street Journal’s Funny Paper

Has anyone else noticed that the print edition of the Wall Street Journal is kind of funky these last days of 2006? The front pages of each section are printed on the regular newsprint we’re accustomed to, but the inside pages are on a different paper stock — whiter and stiffer and just plain strange.

If I had to guess why this is so, I’d say it’s because:

1. The Journal is changing its physical size in just a few days (Jan. 2, 2007), a cost-cutting move that will make the new paper 12 inches wide instead of 15 inches; and

2. The company probably did its best to forecast how much 15-inch newsprint stock it would need — the newsprint comes on gigantic rolls and represents a not-insignificant portion of any newspaper’s costs — under the old format, and probably bought a bit too little; and

3. Now has to supplement the dwindling stock of old 15-inch newsprint with some kind of emergency paper stock that I assume is cheaper but, if it’s purchased out of distress and in a small amount, may not be.

This is just my guess; I’d happily be proven wrong if anyone knows. What I will say is that my daughter much prefers the strange stiff white paper to the old newsprint: she likes to draw on it, usually with markers, after I’ve read the paper, and the substitute stock holds up much better than the old stuff.