Pulitzer Prize

  • 15 May 2007 at 11:01 AM
  • Bancroft

The Dow of Murdoch: The First Pulitzer Prize Winners’ Letter!

NEWSCORPDOWJONESRUPERTMURDOCHWALLSTREETJOURNALSMALL.JPGA group of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists at the Wall Street Journal have written a letter to members and a representative of the family that controls the newspaper’s parent company, Dow Jones & Co, opposing a proposed acquisition by News Corp, Greg Sargent reports on Talking Points Memo. The letter is signed by a team of reporters based in China whose coverage won a Pulitzer this year.
“We are correspondents who report from China for The Wall Street Journal, and we are writing to urge you to stand by the Bancroft family’s courageous and principled decision to reject News Corp.’s offer to acquire Dow Jones & Co,” the letter signed by seven journalists begins.
The letter, dated May 10th, accuses News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch of allowing business interests to interfere with the journalistic integrity of news organizations owned by the company.
“News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has a well-documented history of making editorial decisions in order to advance his business interests in China and, indeed, of sacrificing journalistic integrity to satisfy personal or political aims,” the reporters write.
DealBreaker reported last week that Pulitzer prize winners at the Journal were being urged by opponents of the deal within the paper to write letters supporting the initial rejection of News Corp’s offer by the Bancroft family. It is not clear if this letter came as a response to that effort.
The Bancroft family controls Dow Jones through its ownership of most of the company’s super-voting Class B shares, which wield ten times the voting power of shares of common stock. Family members Leslie Hill, Elizabeth Steele and Christopher Bancroft received the letter, as did trustee Michael Elefante, who represents the family trust which controls much of the family’s shares. All four sit on the board of directors of Dow Jones.
Members of the Bancroft family also received a letter yesterday from Murdoch, dated May 11th, denying that he would interfere with the journalistic integrity of Journal.
“The businesses of Dow Jones, and in particular The Wall Street Journal, represent American journalism at its best. Your record of journalistic independence and integrity is second to none. Any interference — or even hint of interference — would break the trust that exists between the paper and its readers, something I am unwilling to countenance. Apart from breaching the public’s trust, it would simply be bad business,” Murdoch wrote.
The editor of the Times of London also authored a letter denying that Murdoch had interfered with the China reporting or editorial policy of his paper.
Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning China Reporters Write Letter Blasting Murdoch Takeover Bid [Talking Points Memo]

RupertMurdochNewsCorpBidForDowJonesAsStatusContest.jpgThe Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winners are being courted by a campaign to oppose News Corp’s bid for Dow Jones & Co, according to a source within the newspaper. The prize winning journalists are being asked to sign a letter opposing the bid. It is unclear whether the letter would include signatures from only Pulitzer Prize winners currently working at the Journal, or include the larger group of reporters who won while at the Journal who have since left. In the past ten years, the Journal and its reporters have won over a dozen Pulitzer Prizes.
The letter would resemble those that sometimes appear on matters of public concern signed by leading members of various academic or scientific communities. Recently a group of prominent physicists, including several Nobel laureates, sent a letter to US lawmakers urging measures to restrict the use of nuclear weapons by the United States. The WSJ Pulitzer letter would encourage the board of directors of Dow Jones, or possibly the members of the Bancroft family who control the company through their Class B shares (which have ten times the voting power of ordinary shares), to oppose the bid from News Corp to acquire the company, the source claimed.
It is not clear who is organizing the campaign, and DealBreaker has not yet obtained a copy of the proposed letter. Last week DealBreaker broke the news that Jesse Drucker, a Journal reporter and union representative, was encouraging colleagues to protest the deal by writing letters to three members of the Bancroft family who sit on the board of directors.
A List of the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prizes [Wall Street Journal]