It may be weeks, perhaps even months, before the deal between News Corp and Dow Jones is ratified and Rupert Murdoch can be legally certified as owner of the Wall Street Journal.
But already thousands of words have been published in America – some condemning the sale, some suggesting it was the only way to ensure the survival of the WSJ.
Murdoch’s only comment about his plans, at least on the record, before the sale, was that he would introduce more news pages in the Wall Street.Journal and perhaps liven up its Washington coverage.
It’s obvious he will use the Wall Street Journal – its name as well as its staff – to supplement his soon-to-be-launched Fox Business Channel on American TV.
Although some critics suggested it was a dark day for journalism (one paper, the Daily News even revived the old title Dirty Digger) it’s unlikely he will ‘jazz up’the WSJ and turn it into a tabloid, which is what many of his opponents implied. So semi-naked page three Girls – even with MBA’s – can be ruled out. .
Aside from increasing the WSJ circulation, which is already well over two million daily (presuming not too many readers are serious about cancelling their subscriptions) – Murdoch’s main targets will be the New York Times, which is already faltering in sales and ad income and its British rival – The Financial Times.
That means expanding its overseas circulation and that, of course, means livelier coverage of the international business scene
But the biggest effect of the Murdoch take-over, as the NY Times itself admitted, is that Murdoch must now be considered the most formidable figure in business news coverage in the US, if not worldwide
Although regulatory approval is still needed for the deal, that is not expected to be a problem and the contracts are expect to be signed by the end of the year. Still to be resolved however will be the contracts of top executives who have indicated they wanted to leave if Murdoch took over.