Rupert Murdoch has a new toy, and the world of American journalism is grieving. But in case anyone thinks the Mogul Leopard is a species that changes its spots, take a look at two stories that have hit the wires in the past 24 hours in the wake of News Corporation’s acquisition of Dow Jones and its flagship, The Wall Street Journal:
Item 1: Dow Jones & Co said on Thursday it did not know that one of the people named to protect its editorial independence after it becomes part of News Corp runs a foundation that received a donation pledge of $2.5 million (1.2 million pounds) from News Corp … Rupert Murdoch’s global media conglomerate selected Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Nicholas Negroponte to be part of the five-member special committee that will oversee the editorial independence of Dow Jones’s news operations including the Wall Street Journal … A News Corp spokesman said the company saw no conflicts of interest in Negroponte’s appointment … Negroponte said he had known Murdoch since 1986 and had since worked with him on several projects … “I ask his advice all the time. He asks mine on matters related to computers and communications. I would like to think I have been an influence on his distinctly digital life these days.” – Reuters
Item 2: On Sunday night, after months of debate within the Bancroft family about protecting the editorial independence of Dow Jones & Company, the discussion turned to a very different, 11th-hour, question: would Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation cover the Bancrofts’ legal and banker fees? … If the answer were yes, the family would vote yes, too … That was the very unusual offer that arose in a phone call between a lawyer with the Denver firm Holme Roberts & Owen, which represents the Bancroft trusts based in Denver, and David F. DeVoe, the News Corporation’s chief financial officer. At the time, the Denver votes seemed critical to the deal’s being done … After an all-night series of conference calls, the News Corporation acquiesced, paying the fees not only for the Denver trusts but also for the entire family — giving the Bancrofts what amounts to a premium worth more than $40 million over other shareholders. – New York Times
Rupert Murdoch may or may not turn out to be a good proprietor of The Wall Street Journal . But if he does, it will be strictly on his terms. That’s the immutable law of the jungle when the Mogul Leopard is on the prowl.
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