Thursday, July 19, 2007

Worried WSJ staff polish up résumés while awaiting family's decision on sale * * *

It's been a "wrenching time" for Dow Jones employees since Murdoch made his offer 11 weeks ago.

Richard Pérez-Péna wrote in today's New York Times that the possible takeover by News Corp. has placed an unusual strain on the company and the employees.

“There’s a real culture of passion for the truth, for shining lights in dark places and making the mysterious understood,” said a reporter, one of dozens of people interviewed at The Journal and Dow Jones, nearly all of whom asked for anonymity, fearing a backlash from the current regime or the next one. “The overwhelming view here is that under Murdoch, that gets compromised from Day One, and that idea is devastating, heartbreaking, to people.”
Union-represented DJ staffers made it clear to their executive board that the union needed to not only oppose the News Corp bid, but to be an active player in the effort to encourage alternatives. The union remains hopeful the family will decide to maintain the independence of Dow Jones and continue the Bancroft Family stewardship.
Many people at Dow Jones continue to hold out hope for another bidder. So far, none has emerged. “I guess we’re back where we started, with our hopes in the Bancrofts,” said E. S. [Jim] Browning, a reporter who covers the stock market and is the head of the union’s bargaining committee. “I think they understand that if Murdoch prevails, it’s the end of The Journal as we know it.”

As the chances of an alternative have appeared to wane, more reporters and editors have polished their résumés and approached rival publications about jobs. Some have even talked of starting their own business news Web site.
*ALSO: DJ staff aren't the only ones worried. A non-member DJ board member who abstained from the vote Tuesday night resigned today because he too is "very worried that Dow Jones unique journalistic values will long-term strongly suffer after the proposed sale."

**MURDOCH ALTERNATIVE OFFERS NEW PLAN: In a last-minute appeal to turn down Rupert Murdoch's $60-a-share, $5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Co. My Space founder Brad Greenspan proposed in an open letter late Friday a plan he said could drive stock in The Wall Street Journal publisher to more than $100 per share.

(end of post - maybe)

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