OLD Media Moves

Three groups in the WSJ newsroom

June 12, 2008

Mark Bowden of The Atlantic writes about how News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is changing The Wall Street Journal to compete with the New York Times and notes that corrections were up more than 20 percent in the first quarter of the year.

Rupert MurdochHe also points out that the business journalists at the Journal are in three different camps, according to one staffer.

Bowden writes, “There were those who were already making plans to leave, or knew they would jump ship at the first decent opportunity. He called this group ‘the Extremists’; it included reporters like the Pulitzer-winning Bandler, who recently left for Fortune magazine.

“Then there were those who knew that the takeover could spell disaster for the kind of journalism they loved, but who were reluctant to believe that Murdoch would really dismantle something so admirable and successful. He called this group ‘the Hopefuls.’

“‘And then there was the third portion of the room,’ he said. ‘This is a big group. These are the people who see the tribulations of the industry, who felt sure that if nothing had changed there would be certain cutbacks and layoffs in The Journal’s future, who were feeling the general dread that all newsrooms in America feel right now. And they thought, Here’s an owner who is going to invest! My job is secure! He’ll beef up the paper, and even if this means we may become more like Fox News, it’s worth it because we will still have the opportunity to do great work. These are the people who believed that Marcus Brauchli would save them. This is the group that I call ‘Naive.’'”

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