Editorial Reorganization At Wall Street Journal Looms

Posted by: Jon Fine on June 12, 2007

The Wall Street Journal’s new top editor, managing editor Marcus Brauchli, is putting the finishing touches on a massive reorganization of the financial daily’s top editorial ranks.

Chief among the changes: Daniel Hertzberg—who, as the paper’s senior deputy managing editor, is its second-ranking editor— will head to Europe to edit the Wall Street Journal Europe and possibly take on broader responsibilities. Mike Williams, the current WSJ Europe editor and a rising star at the paper, will return to the U.S. to assume a new high-profile editorial role. In a brief phone conversation, Hertzberg declined to comment. Williams could not be reached.

Many aspects of Brauchli’s planned changes remain unclear. Adding to the confusion, several top editors at the Journal were huddling at a company offsite at the posh Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Arizona, and were not expected back in the Journal’s New York offices until June 13. Staffers at the Journal have been buzzing about the changes since last week. An announcement from Brauchli, who via email declined to comment on the matter, is expected this week, perhaps as soon as June 13.

The changes are expected to be Brauchli’s first moves toward remaking the Journal’s storied news operations and, so far, appear to center around high-ranking editors’ assignments.

Brauchli, who was named as the successor to longtime Managing Editor Paul Steiger in mid-April, took the reins of the Journal at a uniquely turbulent juncture in its history. Rupert Murdoch had made clear of his desire to purchase the Journal’s parent company Dow Jones for about $5 billion in a breakfast meeting with company CEO Rich Zannino in late March. That news broke to the world on May 1—precisely two weeks before Brauchli took over from Steiger.

The Bancroft family, who control Dow Jones’ shares through a two-tier stock structure, are currently at work on proposals to ensure some degree of editorial autonomy for the Journal. A hours-long meeting between the Bancrofts and Murdoch last week was described to have gone well, but no additional meetings are currently scheduled as News Corp. waits to hear about the Bancroft proposal. It does not look likely that Murdoch himself, who is in the U.K. this week, or his son, James—who attended last week’s meeting with his father—will appear at the next meeting.

Insiders remain confident a deal still looks likely. Talks between GE, which owns cable news network CNBC, and Microsoft over making their own run at Dow Jones ended without result.

One executive familiar with those discussions said they predated Murdoch’s breakfast with Zannino.

UPDATE: very early 6/13: Additionally: Mike Miller to be promoted from Page One editor to Deputy Managing Editor. Former Wall Street Journal Europe editor Mike Williams to be Page One Editor. Deputy Managing Editor Edward Felsenthal’s role to change in some fashion, though I’m unclear on specifics.

I get the distinct feeling that I’m a blind guy who’s only grasping a few parts of the elephant. Suspect we will know shortly exactly how this all shakes out.

(This item impossible without the contributions of my colleagues Michael Orey, Tom Lowry, and Lauren Young.)

Reader Comments

Justa Hard Worker

June 12, 2007 7:41 PM

Part of the Wall Street Journal's editorial shakeup should include jettisoning John Fund from the Opinion Page.

His columns show that he is an avid consumer of the Bush Administration's Coolaid, and regularly regurgitates most of their dribble regardless of what the facts suggest.

greg

June 12, 2007 8:05 PM

LOL!!!!!!!!!!

krishnan

June 12, 2007 9:50 PM

Wall Street Journal is nothing but a collection of pimps for the neocons who got us into Iraq.I would suggest that one should read their editorial pages from March 2003.They even had Rush Limbaugh write an editorial!

Brad Eleven

June 12, 2007 10:54 PM

Hear, hear. The Journal has slipped noticeably this millennium. I was, at first, distressed to realise that Murdoch would soon have it in his greasy grasp, but I now applaud the move. It will make for an excellent barometer of culture, e.g., with its predictably obvious decline-to-come, will anyone notice--or just keep renewing their subscriptions?

financialjoe

June 12, 2007 11:20 PM

Hopefully the journal will start to get real, and not plot with Wall Street as they always have. Meaning...report the scum as they are...and give kudos to those on the street who place the investor first. Investors want to be informed about what to watch out for...not what the return of a fund is...they can get that on Google, Yahoo, MSN Money, or Morningstar.

reader

June 13, 2007 3:55 AM

The WSJ lost its credibility a long time ago. The paper is not taken seriously; its coverage filled with distortions; the op. page too often spewing outright untruths. It is not s source of business news or good analysis, but a cheap rag, a fading dress.

Hoyt Henderson

June 13, 2007 6:37 AM

After 25 or more yrs of reading and depending upon info from WSJ and Barrons. The last 5 yrs the quality of info deteriorating. I turned on a program with WSJ, Washington Bureau Chief
on Fake news and have not read the Journal since
and let my Barrons expire approx. 8 mos ago.
The Barrrons was still interesting but it was
controlled by the same as WSJ. The credibility has lowered to the level of other Murdoch possessions so go ahead and sell out. I am getting familiar with FT and other sources.
I have 34 years experience and cannot accept
opinions and spin, I need facts.
Just one RIA opinion.

Arnold Harriett

July 6, 2007 4:10 PM

I resubscribed to the WSJ and when the subscription runs out will not renew it. They do not cover the news and especially the markets. Rupert can not do any worse.

Post a comment

 

About

The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.

Categories

 

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!