Boston Globe business columnist Steve Bailey, who won a Loeb Award Monday evening, wishes the Bancroft family that controls Dow Jones & Co., the parent of The Wall Street Journal, had been in attendance at the dinner in New York.
If they had, they would quickly decide to turn down News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch‘s offer to buy the company.
Bailey wrote, “The family that has controlled The Wall Street Journal for a hundred years is on the brink of selling one of the world’s great newspapers — and the most important voice in business journalism — to Rupert Murdoch. The Loebs were a timely and excellent measure of why this quiet New England family has more to lose than to gain in selling to Murdoch, a man who has grown rich and powerful by never over estimating his audience.
“The Journal, as usual, dominated the Loeb awards this year. In all the newspaper had 10 finalists; The New York Times was second with six finalists. The Journal won two Loebs, including one to the Boston-based reporters who broke the story about the wide practice of companies secretly backdating option awards to top executives. It was the story of the year in business, and swept awards , including the Pulitzer Prize.
“Now Murdoch, at 76, wants to buy what he has not been able to build in a lifetime. His $5 billion bid is a rich premium for Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Journal, which has made more than its share of management missteps over the years. But the Bancrofts need to ask themselves: Do they really want to be the generation that sells the Journal to a man whose contribution to American journalism is the New York Post and Fox News? Because that is who they will forever be. And they will be poorer, not richer, for it.”
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