DJ comms staff awaits change

NEW YORK: The sale of Dow Jones to News Corp. last week inspired widespread confusion about the future among Dow Jones editorial staffers. But it also left the future of the company's communications department up in the air.

NEW YORK: The sale of Dow Jones to News Corp. last week inspired widespread confusion about the future among Dow Jones editorial staffers. But it also left the future of the company's communications department up in the air.

Robert Christie, Wall Street Journal PR director, said the status quo is still in effect for the company's corporate communications structure and that no changes have been announced in the immediate wake of the deal.

But it seems likely that some alterations would be made now that the company has been sold. In many cases, the corporate communications department of the subsidiary company is dissolved and absorbed into that of the parent company. Layoffs may or may not result from the process.

News Corp. SVP of corporate communications Andrew Butcher would not comment on the issue, saying, "We haven't even bought the company yet."

Kekst & Co., which represented Dow Jones' controlling Bancroft family throughout the bid process and its ultimate approval, continues to work with the family.

As part of the deal, News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch agreed not to make unilateral decisions about editorial issues at The Wall Street Journal. But staffers there and at other Dow Jones properties complained bitterly to the media.

One staffer at Dow Jones-owned MarketWatch told PRWeek that "nobody knows" what the ultimate effect of the sale will be.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

The family came under criticism for a last-minute provision of the deal in which News Corp. agreed to pay more than $40 million in fees to the Bancrofts' legal and financial advisers. Critics complained that may have given advisers an incentive to advocate in favor of a deal because they knew their fees would be paid.

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