Wall Street Journal agreement is vague, but protects top three editors
Sarah Ellison of The Wall Street Journal writes Tuesday that the editorial agreement that aims to protect the newspaper should it be purchased by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is vaguely worded in some places but does protect the top three editors.
Ellison wrote, “But the document’s power relies less on specific language than on how those editors — and the new owner — exercise influence. The agreement isn’t as detailed as, say, a rule book for a sports event: Much of the wording is vague, leaving operations to mutual agreement between the two parties. And the ability to enforce the agreement legally is less crucial than the ability of reporters and editors to win attention for their grievances.
“The document is partly designed to appease worried Dow Jones employees and the Bancroft family members who control the company’s voting shares. But it may also put News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch — who isn’t expected to shirk from implementing his strong notions of how a news-gathering enterprise should operate — on notice that he’s being closely watched. At other publications he has acquired, Mr. Murdoch has gained a reputation for meddling in editorial coverage.
“‘It gives you a good starting point,’ says John Huey, editor in chief of Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. ‘But that document isn’t what all this hinges on. It hinges on the good will, intelligence and backbone of the people involved.'”
Read more here.