It's the nature of the media business to take profits from the suffering of others, and coverage of the recent financial meltdown is no exception, helping to drive online traffic and (no doubt) newsstand sales. But the Wall Street Journal should be more discreet about its gloating, particularly given the newspaper will soon eject 50 of its own staff into the economic wilderness now home to the likes of Lehman Brothers. At least one Journal staffer was none too pleased to see an internal news item today headlined "Market Turmoil Provides Hook to Sell U.S. Journal in London." (It's reprinted in full after the jump.)

It's actually true, as the memo states, that there is "no better time" than the current Wall Street panic to hand-distribute copies of the Journal throughout London, thus advancing editor Robert Thomson's internationalist ambitions. But perhaps this observation could have been kept close to the vest.

The memo:

Read all about it
Market Turmoil Provides Hook to Sell U.S. Journal in London
September 17, 2008

The turmoil in the world's financial markets has provided strong copy and headlines for The Wall Street Journal.

So there was no better time to distribute copies of the U.S. edition - with its well-sourced, insightful and visually compelling coverage of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch and AIG's scramble for cash – at key transit points in the City of London today.

A big thanks to volunteers Adam Ezro, Nilam Vekaria, Peter Jennings, Suhki Bhuta, Arash Hamrahian, Danni Smith and Etienne Bauvir who joined Anne Hogarth and me during the City rush hour yesterday morning to distribute nearly 1,500 copies of the paper, complete with retail vouchers and subscription offers.

Thanks also to Anne, Mike Elsas and Cedric Hamerlinck for the faultless organisation and execution at such short notice. Undoubtedly, the exercise has raised further awareness of the WSJ at a time when our coverage is in a class of its own.

Tim Lafferty
Director of product sales and marketing
Dow Jones Consumer Media Group EMEA

Our tipster's reaction:

I thought this piece of company news pasted below was especially crappy, given the gravity of the economy's teeter-totter and the fact that lives depend on the outcomes. Apparently the paper's reinvention involves cackling over the snapping bones and spirits of the very Wall Streeters who've given us our stories. Yayy capitalism journalismism.