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Posted by on Jul 31, 2007 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

The Media: How Now Dow Jones?

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If I had picked up my morning newspaper a few years ago and read that Rupert Murdoch had bought Dow Jones & Company, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, I would have sneezed coffee through my nose and then collapsed to the floor with heart spasms.

But times have changed, and while it still is a bit off putting that a conservative media mogul who has built his empire on sleaze and scandal is buying the owner of one of the most respected brands in mainstream media for a cool $5 billion, that transaction simply does not deliver the shock value it would have even five years ago.

But have times changed for the better?

I certainly should be able to provide a definitive answer as an ink-stained wretch who toiled in the trenches of daily journalism for over 35 years and looked on in horror as my last paper become a shell of its former self because the owners were much more concerned about their company’s share price than the quality of the product.
Alas, I cannot say things are better or worse.

What I can say is that from a market perspective, the shakeout in the MSM is long overdue, and editors long oblivious to market forces – including the advent of the Internet and later the blogosphere — are getting their comeuppance from sea to shining sea.

What I also can say is that from a content perspective, the shakeout has made some MSM outlets better but others not so. While there is substantially more variety for readers and viewers, much of it is the celebrity-driven piffle that is Murdoch’s coin of the realm, while the MSM has not exactly covered itself in glory in covering the biggest story of the young millennium – the Iraq war.

What I also can say is the acquisition of The Journal, along with the planned launch of a Fox business news channel by Murdoch’s News Corporation, makes him the most formidable figure in business news in the country, and that is scary. Very scary given the unapologetically conservative spin that the Fox News channel puts on everything it touches.

More here.

Photo by Mark Lenihan/The Associated Press

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • casualobserver

    Well, maybe we should start things off with a show of hands………how many TMV’ers read page A14?

    Said differently, I’m inclined to believe editorial content is not the big deal here. However, if there is dimunition of its factual business news coverage and depth, now that will be significant.

  • domajot

    How business interests drive news is evidenced by the fact that no one ever points out that Dow Jones, S&P and other indicators are never adjusted for inflation when compared to past years. They’re UP, we’re told, and that’s all we need to know.

    Economists without ‘proper’ ideological agendas are not allowed acesss to the podium.
    The Murdochs of our news world will only intensify this lop-sided situation.

  • i think there’s a bigger issue here. Murdoch has an unbroken record, from his days trying to jump start his inherited newspapers in Australia (he was a ‘liberal’ then) through his purchase of the Times of London to the Fox acquisition, his somewhat ruthless takeover of the NFL NFC cdontract, to the Fox News startup. Murdoch is now the largest media owner in the world. And, universally, throughout, his media outlets are expected to cook the news in the direction of his interests.

    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page might have seemed Murdochesque (don’t expect much in the way of changes), but the rest of the paper had a lot of damned fine reporting in everybody’s book, and a committment to excellence in journalism is the anti-forte of the entire organization.

    A bunny rabbit might give birth to an ostrich. Mary, we are led to understand, had a little lamb. But generally, what is birthed from one entity is a like, if smaller entity. The Wall Street Journal as we know it is gone.

    Maybe he can do with it what he did with TV Guide: tart it up and sell multiple “collectors cover” editions. Or, as the inventor of the “Page 3 Girl” we might see boobs inside the cover and above the fold. But whatever happens, it will follow the prior model. Of that there’s no doubt.

    Perhaps to be remembered as a black day in American journalism. Perhaps not.

  • Rudi

    No one addresses that fact that the family controlling the WSJ sold out their interest for the $. The Ford family put Billy JR in charge and he almost destroyed the families business. Welcome to the world run by corporations, don’t fear the World Bank, Newscorp and Cerebus will devour the world.

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