Daniel Gross in Slate:
Given the dynamics in the industry, it’s plausible to think that a company that is not News Corp.—that is, a company not synonymous with right-wing bias, shoddy journalism, and a meddling boss—could have taken Dow Jones for a 25 percent premium to the $36.33 per share price—$45.41 per share, or about $3.78 billion. Assume a more generous 40 percent premium—this is the Wall Street Journal, after all—and a non-Murdoch buyer could have bought Dow Jones for about $50.86 per share, or $4.24 billion. Again, this is highly speculative, but it’s likely that Murdoch would not have won over the Bancrofts had he not put such a rich offer on the table.

So it’s not unreasonable to assume that Murdoch was forced to pay somewhere between $760 million and $1.22 billion more for Dow Jones just because of his reputation. read more

Eric Pooley in Time:
When Murdoch talks about the future of newspapers, you get a sense of how contemporary he really is. Circulation and advertising revenues are ebbing away everywhere, he notes, proportional to broadband penetration. “You’ve really got to worry,” he says. “Tribune Co.’s revenues [in May] dropped 11% across broadcasting and newspapers. That’s huge. The Times dropped 8.5%. Half of men under 30 aren’t reading print newspapers, and there’s no sign that they come back as they age.”

How does he respond to this bleak picture? By musing about investing even more in newspapers. “What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but went global — a great, great newspaper with big, iconic names, outstanding writers, reporters, experts. And then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you’d make … a little bit of money. Then again, the Journal and the Times make very little money now.” read more

David Ignatius in The Washington Post:
Those days were sweet: The Journal had created America’s first national newspaper, and people hungry for good journalism were reading it coast to coast. I remember covering a United Steelworkers convention in Las Vegas and watching all those beefy union men sitting in the lobby reading the Journal. WSJ reporters in those days didn’t get bylines on most stories inside the paper, which meant we threw ourselves all the more into the bylined columns on Page 1.

The front page was a gray wall of type, with no photographs, but the stories sparkled with color. Offbeat features in the middle column, known as A-heds, actually brought a laugh — the rarest emotion on a newspaper front page. Occasional first-person A-heds chronicled the adventures of Journal reporters trying their hand as lady weightlifters, massage-parlor receptionists or professional disco dancers. read more

Eric Alterman in The Nation:
That American journalism is facing so many crises simultaneously has the effect of immobilizing a concerted response to any of them. From the Administration’s war on the press, to the relentless attention lavished on Paris and Britney, to the domination of “serious” punditocracy discourse by friends and acolytes of the discredited Bill Kristol, to the way the upstart blogosphere has all but destroyed the prestige and authority of so many of the “wise men” with aggressive fact-checking and relentless questioning, to the fact that young people are more likely to be killed by terrorists than to buy a daily newspaper subscription or turn on the evening news–there are more problems than any one person can hope to address. Meanwhile, corporate owners are demanding 20 percent profit margins every year, thereby forcing cuts in coverage and diminishing the product, giving people even less reason to read or tune in. All one can really do is press on and hope for a miracle.

Rupert Murdoch might profitably be viewed as the Frankenstein monster of this multifaceted identity crisis. Take a look at his flagship American publication: the New York Post. It’s dumb, celebrity-obsessed, spineless, corrupt, unreliable and reactionary, and even with all its pandering, it still manages to lose, by its own estimation, $30 million to $50 million a year. read more

Stephen Brook in The Guardian:
Mr Murdoch will want a trusted lieutenant at the Journal, and his British and Australian newspaper executives are a closer match for his desire for a general interest broadsheet newspaper than their counterparts in the US, where his key title is the tabloid New York Post.

One British journalist who could transfer to the US is the Times business editor, James Harding, also spoken of as a successor to Mr Thomson at the Times. The Sunday Times editor, John Witherow, has been at the broadsheet for more than a decade and is also known to desire a management position. read more

Janina Gibson the Guardian:
Here’s the rub though. If you abandon the traditions of impartial, broad, financial reporting that have taken the WSJ to the second-highest circulation in the US, then the market will abandon you. It’s a busy market, filled with potential rivals, from the Financial Times to Bloomberg to Reuters and the New York Times. And for each of them the deal represents opportunity as well as threat. read more