'WSJ' Says Murdoch and Bancrofts Will Meet Again Soon

Article excerpt

Emerging from his key meeting with the Bancroft family, which controls the property he wants -- Dow Jones -- Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. chief, called it "constructive." Later, a spokesman for the family used the same word in stating: "The parties had a constructive dialogue and have gone back to consider our positions."

Among the differences: Which plan to guarantee some sort of editorial independence to pursue.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning: "There isn't a date set for another meeting, but the two sides are expected to reconvene shortly, people close to the family said."

But in separate article, the Journal raises new questions aoubt Murdoch's handling of news at his papers. It concludes: "A detailed examination of Mr. Murdoch's half-century career as a journalist and businessman shows that his newspapers and other media outlets have made coverage decisions that advanced the interests of his sprawling media conglomerate, News Corp. In the process, Mr. Murdoch has blurred a line that exists at many other U.S. media companies between business and news sides -- a line intended to keep the business and political interests of owners from influencing the presentation of news."

According to The New York Times, meanwhile, the Bancroft family told Murdoch "it would sell him the company only if its jewel, The Wall Street Journal, could be shielded from editorial interference from him.

"Mr. Murdoch made clear," the Times reveals today, "that he would not accept the terms of the Bancroft family's proposal, which would give a board of independent overseers the power to hire and fire top editors, according to people who were present or were briefed by participants, but, they said, Mr. Murdoch floated an alternate arrangement in the meeting, which lasted almost five hours. 'Both sides laid out the way they thought it should work, and neither side agreed with the other, but they're eager to keep talking,' said someone who was briefed on the meeting but who was unauthorized to speak on behalf of the participants. 'It was all very pleasant on both sides, but there's still plenty of distance between the two.'"

An excerpt from the Journal's article on yesterday's meeting follows. …