OLD Media Moves

Steiger: Not a lot of anguish in decision

May 22, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Paul Steiger, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal who had been told by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch that a bid had been made for Dow Jones & Co., the parent of the Journal, said Tuesday that the decision not to tell the paper’s reporters “did not cause me a lot of anguish.”

Paul SteigerSteiger, speaking at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual conference, said that two other news executives new about the $5 billion offer. “We knew it as business executives, not journalists. We were embargoed out of the story.”

Steiger, who retired as ME last week and is now editor at large until the end of the year, has been criticized by some for holding the story.

Steiger said that if one of the Journal’s reporters had discovered the offer, then the paper would have run the story. CNBC first broke the story, and the Journal was forced to follow a competitor. “I hate being in that position, but that’s life in the city,” said Steiger.

Steiger, who received SABEW’s Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday, said he went to Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino and Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz after the story broke and told them that he didn’t want to be involved in any business meetings related to the offer.

“From now on, we were journalists 100 percent,” said Steiger. “We don’t want to be involved in business briefings.”

Steiger said he warned the two executives that if a reporter or editor encountered them in the elevator, they would ask as journalists and seek information.

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