Decision to hold story troubles journalism experts
David Jones of Crain’s New York Business writes Tuesday that journalism professors and experts are bothered by the revelation that top Wall Street Journal editors knew about the $5 billion offer from News Corp. to acquire Dow Jones & Co., the Journal’s parent, but held the story for a week until another media outlet broke the news.
Jones wrote, “Mitchell Stephens, a journalism professor at New York University, says that editors often withhold information from the public. ‘Obviously one understands this is a tricky business for these people,’ he said. ‘However, any time editors decide [they will not publish] information that they have that is clearly newsworthy. . . makes me nervous. It upsets my stomach.’
“However, Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, in St. Petersburg, Fla., said the Journal editors were in a tough predicament.
“‘It’s the unusual situation where your responsibilities as an editor or manager come into conflict with covering the news,’ said Mr. Edmonds. ‘I would be fairly sympathetic to what they did.’
“He said the fact that Mr. Murdoch contacted Mr. Steiger in an email labeled ‘personal and confidential’ would preclude him from going public with the information.
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