Why Murdoch’s handling of the WSJ is the other News Corp. scandal
Ed Wasserman, a journalism professor at Washington & Lee University, writes for the Miami Herald how changes at The Wall Street Journal since it was acquired by News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch have hurt its reputation.
Wasserman writes, “Within the news world, The Journal’s shadow was long. It was admired and imitated. It pioneered styles of investigative reporting and narrative craft. People studied its front page to learn how to write and edit. I know I did.
“Despite his reputation for swill and swagger, in 2007 it seemed plausible to assume that Murdoch understood his strategic success depended on keeping The Journal good. Whether he did is open to dispute. Some argue it’s a better paper, livelier, visually engaging, nimbler, less self-indulgent. Me, I don’t trust it the way I used to. I find its coverage of public policy now skews to the right, its stories are twitchy and impatient. I think the old Journal would have been much bolder in exposing the financial pigfest that shoved us into our current economic muddle.
“But now it seems the more troubling concerns about the influence of News Corp. center less on The Journal’s news than its business practices. Earlier this month, the publisher of The Journal’s European edition and the head of Dow Jones for Europe, the Middle East and Africa was forced out amid astonishing allegations, first reported by The Guardian, the London daily that spearheaded disclosures about sleazy doings at the News of the World.
“The story is that the Brussels-based Wall Street Journal Europe had arranged with some European companies for them to buy a huge proportion of its total circulation at deep discounts. By last year, some 46,000 of the Journal’s European circulation of 74,800 consisted of bulk sales at no more than a nickel apiece.”