OLD Media Moves

Murdoch should put money aside for WSJ enterprise journalism

July 13, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, argues in Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle that the way to ensure The Wall Street Journal‘s journalistic integrity after it is purchased by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is for Murdoch to put aside some money for that purpose.

Wall Street JournalScheer wrote, “At this writing, the Bancrofts and Murdoch are still negotiating, with the Bancrofts insisting unrealistically that Murdoch keep his hands off the news and editorial sides of the newspaper, and Murdoch making promises about editorial independence that, based on past experience, he probably has no intention of keeping. It is a dance choreographed by Murdoch to burnish his own image and to make the Bancrofts feel less guilty about selling out.

“If, as seems likely, the parties come to terms on a deal, the Bancroft family members should be shamed into foregoing their windfall. They should be compensated for their stock, of course, but only for its value before Murdoch made his buyout offer. The huge premium in Murdoch’s $5 billion bid — amounting to some $495 million for the Bancroft family’s shares — should be put in a trust to underwrite the kind of investigative and enterprise journalism at which the Journal has long excelled.”

“That would be a gesture worthy of the family owners of what may be the best newspaper in the world.”

Read more here.

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