OLD Media Moves

Press release masquerading as a WSJ story

January 11, 2006

That’s the conclusion that Fortune senior writer Devin Leonard reached about the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the change in management at parent Dow Jones & Co. last week.

“The newspaper read — and feared — by everybody in corporate America published the equivalent of a press release,” wrote Leonard.

He added: “Here’s what you didn’t read in the Journal. Under Kann, Dow Jones has faced two crises. The first is his management. Since Kann became CEO in 1991, Dow Jones’s total return to shareholders has been 109 percent. By comparison, the New York Times Co. and the Washington Post Co. delivered returns of about 228 percent and 368 percent, respectively.

“The second crisis has been the abysmal market conditions afflicting all newspapers, as readers and advertisers abandon print for the Internet and other new media. If ever there were a time to break with tradition and appoint a nonjournalist as chief executive, it’s now.”

Read his entire analysis, posted this afternoon, here.

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