An update on Murdoch's WSJ makeover

The New Republic’s May 9 piece on Rupert Murdoch’s progress on reinventing the Wall Street Journal indicates that the business world’s leading newspaper might...

The New Republic’s May 9 piece on Rupert Murdoch’s progress on reinventing the Wall Street Journal indicates that the business world’s leading newspaper might not be recognizable to financial types within a few years.

According to reporter Gabriel Sherman, Murdoch is creating a conservative national newspaper of record to rival the influence of the more liberal New York Times, which means more political and spot news coverage. The report is in line with last month’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s study, which showed that the Journal is giving political and spot news coverage a home on the front page.

Among The New Republic story’s interesting tidbits:

  • Former managing editor Marcus Brauchli’s decision to resign and sign a non-disclosure agreement did not go over well inside the Journal newsroom. Said one staff member: “We’re a business newspaper, so we know a sell-out when we see one.” Ouch.

  • Publisher and de facto managing editor Robert Thomson praised page one coverage of former President Bill Clinton’s increasing presence on the campaign trail as the sort of story that he and Murdoch like.

  • Political reporters finally feel at home among their business-minded colleagues. Said political reporter Jackie Calmes: “At the Journal, the politics coverage was always the stepchild…Now I feel, for the first time, that I’m part of the core coverage.”

  • News Corp. is placing more emphasis on making the Journal , always an editor’s newspaper, a reporter-driven paper. Forty to 60 editors could be laid off or reassigned.

  • Thomson said on April 29 that Murdoch will announce a new managing editor within weeks, and that the boss wants a “renaissance man.” Rumored replacements for Brauchli are Washington bureau chief John Bussey, Money and Investing editor Nick Deogun, assistant managing editor Alan Murray, and Times mergers and acquisitions reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin.

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