OLD Media Moves

Brauchli would bring baggage to Washington Post

June 25, 2008

Dean Starkman of Columbia Journalism Review writes Wednesday that former Wall Street Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli would bring questions about his tenure at the paper if he became the Washongton Post’s executiev editor because of his failure to use the agreement designed to protect the Journal from interference by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Marcus BrauchliStarkman writes, “In April, Brauchli abruptly resigned and wrote a letter to the staff saying he ‘had come to believe the new owners should have a managing editor of their choosing.’

“Okay, but here’s the problem. If Brauchli believed the new owners’ ideas were good, he could have implemented them himself. If he believed they were bad, he could have gone to the committee—a committee unique in the annals of American journalism set up expressly for him. But he didn’t do either.

“One could argue, I suppose, that there was no principle at stake—that it was merely a question of new owners’ wanting their own format, style, aesthetic, what have you, that it really wasn’t a question of the basic editorial direction of the paper. But that’s not right. It was all about editorial direction.

“Then one could argue that editorial direction doesn’t matter, but that would be a strange thing for an editor to say.”

Read more here.

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