Public Relations Tactics

On eve of sale, Murdoch already overhauling The Wall Street Journal: report

December 13, 2007

Dow Jones shareholders today will likely approve the sale of the company and its crown jewel, The Wall Street Journal, to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. But as The New York Times reports, Murdoch has already moved into an office at Dow Jones headquarters and taken control, setting in motion an overhaul of the Journal’s look, content and staff. Last week, he replaced some top Dow Jones executives, including the paper’s publisher, with his own lieutenants.

“He’s not wasting any time,” an anonymous Dow Jones executive is quoted as saying. “He’s already calling the shots, making decisions … it’s amazing to see.”

According to the Times, Murdoch plans to replace dozens of newsroom staff, hire top reporters and editors away from the Journal’s competitors, build up the paper’s Washington bureau, and increase coverage of hard news, politics and national and international affairs — even as the stories themselves become shorter and more succinct. The Journal reportedly has offered significant raises to some journalists who were considering leaving the paper, with Murdoch himself personally asking them to stay. In the newsroom anxiety about possible changes is tempered by optimism, the Times reports.

“I think there are a whole span of people who say, ‘Hey, let’s see what he does, let’s give it a chance,’” former Journal deputy managing editor Byron Calame is quoted as saying. “The idea that there might be more assets, more resources put into the news-gathering gives some people hope.”

— Compiled by Greg Beaubien for Tactics and The Strategist Online

Previously from Tactics and The Strategist Online:
A new jewel for Rupert Murdoch’s crown: Will he fix what isn’t broken at The Wall Street Journal?


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