How Murdoch has changed The Wall Street Journal

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Michael Wolff writes in The Guardian about how he perceives the changes at The Wall Street Journal since it was acquired five years ago by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Wolff writes, “When he bid for the Wall Street Journal in 2007, many Journal loyalists, along with his journalistic enemies, believed that, under Murdoch, the paper would necessarily cater to his views as well as become crasser in tone and style. Four years later, there is more puzzlement than outrage about what he and his deputy, Journal editor Robert Thomson, who will hold the CEO title in the new company, have done to the Journal.

“Murdoch and Thomson took one of the most distinctive, stylized and ‘branded’ voices in journalism – its look and feel recognizable at 30 paces – and flattened it. Adding signature Murdoch elements has not been the strategy: his political accents have been few, his tabloid flare absent. Instead, the strategy has been to cleanse it of identifying marks. The Wall Street Journal, which was a shrinking business when Murdoch bought it, with its profit margins whittled to almost nothing, is now a highly-proficient, well-executed information product – no more, no less.

“And oh, yes: with significant new investment, it loses more money than it ever did.

“Curiously, or eccentrically, Murdoch also shifted the paper’s coverage from all business – it was to business, as the New Testament is to Christianity – to much less business and much more general politics and international coverage. Why? Why would you throw out the most important aspect of what you so expensively acquired?”

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