It hasn't exactly been a secret that newspapers have faced some challenging times lately. Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) said Tuesday that it will cut costs by reformatting its flagship Wall Street Journal newspaper to a slimmer size. Given some of the trends at hand, the move makes a lot of sense.

Dow Jones said it will save about $18 million each year as a result of slimming down its print publication's page size, starting in 2007. Although this initiative will reduce next year's profits by $0.07 per share, it will add to the following years' earnings by about $0.13 per share. Most of the cost savings will come from the fact that it will use less newsprint.

Included in Dow Jones' initiative will be narrower-sized columns, fewer jumps to different pages to read the rest of stories, and increased encouragement to see the online edition of TheWall Street Journal. (That last idea comes as no surprise when you look back at some of the issues at work in Dow Jones' second-quarter earnings report, which underlined the idea that Dow Jones' online businesses were faring better than the print ones.)

This news isn't very surprising. It doesn't hurt to point out that the new formatting -- 48-inch web width from 60-inch web width for columns -- will match those in many other newspapers, such as the Washington Post's (NYSE:WPO) flagship product or Gannett's (NYSE:GCI) USA TODAY.

It stands to reason that the print editions of newspapers could go on a diet. Many changes have taken place in the industry, not the least of which have been the recent problems newspapers faced in generating advertising dollars and keeping circulation numbers up. Meanwhile, a smaller print version jibes with the tendency many people have these days to go to the online versions of newspapers, which are instantly refreshed with breaking news.

Investors will appreciate Dow Jones' cost-cutting strategies, of course, but things should continue to be interesting in the industry while newspaper companies continue to look for new ways to evolve and the public's preferred means of consuming news continue to shift.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.