Wall Street Journal reporters are in mourning today after the Bancroft family sold their souls to the News Corp Murdochracy for $5bn. “It’s sad. We held a wake. We stood around a pile of Journals and drank whiskey,” one writer said.
The Journal’s Managing editor, Marcus Brauchli (whose job, it should be noted, was secured during those interminable negotiations for “editorial independence”) tried to cheer up the troops this morning, sending around an internal memo with such heartrending reassurances as, “Our journalism defines the Journal,” and “It is too early to know how or even whether News Corp. ownership might alter priorities or structures at Dow Jones.”
For the time being, he’s probably right.
sent 6:45am 8/1
Today's news that a decisive proportion of Bancroft family trusts will vote in favor of News Corp.'s proposed acquisition of Dow Jones begins a process that will affect us all, but won't change what we do in the newsroom.
As journalists at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, we have always focused on maintaining the high quality and integrity of our work, without regard to our ownership. We will continue to do so.
Our journalism defines the Journal. A change in ownership won't change our understanding of what's important; our ability to compellingly explain the world, politics and business; or our commitment to reporting that is accurate, honest and free of slant.
We know that a successful news organization's first obligation is to its readers. We must serve them, recognizing that their interests and needs change constantly, and that we will have to change with them.
It is too early to know how or even whether News Corp. ownership might alter priorities or structures at Dow Jones. Our current and likely future owners have given formal assurances, however, that the newsroom will retain its independence.
An owner who values editorial independence is essential to the Journal's success. Yet it is we who ultimately will ensure it, through the continued quality and integrity of our work.
Clarence Barron's heirs in the Bancroft family have been loyal and proud stewards of The Wall Street Journal for nearly 80 years. The Journal today, in print, online and in new media, in the U.S. and internationally, sets the highest journalistic standard thanks to their long support. I hope you share in my deep gratitude to them.
Brauchli, New York