Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Nocera: Murdoch Will Break Promise and Meddle in 'WSJ'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Nocera: Murdoch Will Break Promise and Meddle in 'WSJ'

Article excerpt

In his Saturday business column for The New York Times -- behind its pay wall -- Joseph Nocera offered an incisive look at what he sees as an inevitable Rupert Murdoch takeover of Dow Jones and what might happen after that.

Word has emerged that Murdoch may meet with the Bancroft family, which controls the company, on Monday.

Murdoch has promised to set up a board to oversee an independent news operation at the Wall Street Journal, but Nocera doubts that would last long. He recalls when Newhouse bought The New Yorker and made all sorts of promises along those lines. In short order, they were broken -- but the magazine today, under David Remnick, though more "commercial," is quite a bit better, he adds.

An excerpt follows. The entire column is available at www.nytimes.com via TimesSelect.*

He's wanted it forever. He'll promise just about anything to get his hands on it, including setting up a special editorial board that will protect the paper's independence and integrity. But once he gets it, all bets are off. Of course he's going to meddle -- he'll be the owner, for crying out loud, and he has very clear ideas about how a newspaper should look and feel and smell.

This is not to say that Dow Jones won't vastly improve under his stewardship. I can guarantee you that it will. The reason Dow Jones is going to be sold to someone almost no one connected to the company wants to sell it to is precisely because it has been so poorly run over the past quarter-century. If there is one thing Mr. Murdoch knows how to do, it's run a media company. It's just sad that it's come to this, that's all....

Within The Wall Street Journal, there is a palpable sense of sadness, a feeling that a glorious era of journalism is coming to an end. One reporter talked to me about how wonderful The Journal had been when Norman Pearlstine had been the managing editor and James B. …

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