‘Fear , Mixed with Some Loathing’– is how the New York Times sums up the latest developments in the about-to-be-consummated deal between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Dow Jones buying the Wall Street Journal.
The Times in recent weeks has devoted more space and ink to the story of the projected take-over than probably any other newspaper story in memory. It’s latest analysis of developments includes an almost quarter-page ink-dot image of Rupert Murdoch, the sort of illustration for which the WSJ is famous.
The potential take-over by News Corp has raised worries about the future of the paper – and a feeling among the staff that what they regard as a mission, not a business, will be turned upside down.
Although some of the staff have publicly denounced the proposed deal – among them a group of seven WSJ reporters who recently won Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of China – a few privately have admitted they look forward to the windfall which may come their way, financially, if the deal goes through. At least one top executive, it is said, will benefit to the tune of more than $20 million.
Many at Dow Jones still hope someone will emerge to top Murdoch’s offer, but the likelihood of that happening becomes more and more remote.
There is already talk of who will be invited to join the editorial ‘oversight board’ that Murdoch has promised in order to protect, as he has put it, the paper’s editorial integrity.
Among the names mentioned have been Theodore Olson , the former solicitor general of the US, Jack Fuller, former president of the Tribune Publishing Company, Thomas Bray, former editorial page editor of the Detroit News and Susan Hockfield, president of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.