Chris Lester, the business editor of the Kansas City Star, writes that the way the Bancroft family struggled in recent months with the realization that they had not paid attention to the changes in the media world affecting The Wall Street Journal should be a lesson to others.
Lester wrote, “The Journal remains the gold standard of business journalism, and one of the worldâ€™s greatest newspapers. Itâ€™s hard to imagine Murdoch recasting the Journal in the image of his brash, snarky tabloid the New York Post.
“But the founding family, despite representation on the board, for the most part has been an absentee owner for the past generation, a period of immense change that has offered both great opportunities and enormous challenges as the business media adapted to new technologies and new competition.
“Given another opportunity, those in control of Dow Jones may have played things differently, more aggressively defending its turf as a financial data provider and more aggressively expanding its media delivery options through strategic alliances with other companies.
“Those sort of regrets bubbled to the surface as the Bancrofts, which held voting control of the company through a dense web of trusts benefiting dozens of adult family members, debated the companyâ€™s fate.”
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