The Wall Street Journal reports that its parent company, Dow Jones & Co., has come to terms with News Corporation on measures to protect the editorial independence of the WSJ and Dow Jones Newswires. Now it's down to getting final agreement from the Bancroft family – and then on to the financial terms. Even so, there are still lots of details to be worked out, so no deal is assured. But no one else has stepped forward to match the five billion bucks offer from News Corporation, so it appears the Bancrofts, who control Dow Jones despite owning a minority of shares, will have to deal with Rupert Murdoch or no one.
They had insisted on special terms to ensure than Murdoch could not interfere with the editorial independence of the WSJ and Dow Jones Newswires, but Murdoch had balked at the extreme measures proposed last week, before some tough negotiations found some common ground. Much work remains to be done before any deal is cut which would make Dow Jones & Co. part of the Murdoch empire, and then we will see how it all fits together with the launch later this year of Fox Business Channel.
SmartMedia observation: Why, we wonder, should the Bancrofts be the judges of what is good journalism and what is bad? Not a single member of the Bancroft family living today is, or ever has been, a working journalist. Rupert Murdoch would be a fool to spend five billion bucks to buy a company and then gut the quality of its products to advance some purported political agenda. But he would likewise be a fool to spend five billion bucks for a company where he, the owner, would be prohibited from fixing problems that may develop.