Media Moves

The decline of WSJ's M&A coverage

April 21, 2010

Yvette Kantrow, executive editor of The Deal, writes Wednesday that The Wall Street Journal‘s coverage of mergers and acquisitions is not what it used to be — and won’t be in the future if deals heat up.

Kantrow writes, “Dennis Berman‘s allegedly biweekly column, ‘The Game,’ hadn’t appeared for an entire month before resurfacing on April 13th with a non-jumper on an 81-year-old Felix Rohatyn. Even the Journal’s once-chatty Deal Journal blog is a shadow of its former, informative self.

“Of course, this could all change if the deal markets heat up and Murdoch’s archrival, The New York Times, beats the Journal on a beat his paper used to own. Indeed, the Journal could not have been too pleased a couple of weeks back when it had to credit the Times for breaking the news that United Airlines and US Air were in merger talks — a scoop that the Times placed prominently on its front page. That piece’s main author, Andrew Ross Sorkin, is the most recent example of a reporter who has ridden the M&A beat to broader fame and fortune, not to mention a bestselling book on the financial crisis.

“Sorkin’s rise is instructive because of how much it differs from Lipin’s a decade ago. Lipin trafficked almost exclusively in big-time M&A during his Journal career and appeared almost exclusively in print; Sorkin is not only multichannel — print, online, TV, a book — but he has used the deal beat as a springboard to cover and opine on finance and almost everything that entails, from the industry’s big machers to policy and regulation, including too-big-to-fail.

“Following in the footsteps of The Daily Deal and the magazine you are reading now, Sorkin’s DealBook Web site recognized the existence of a far-flung and seemingly unrelated community of people — M&A bankers, venture capitalists, bankruptcy attorneys, lenders, antitrust experts, etc. — united by the common thread of dealmaking.”

Read more here.

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