WSJ Integrity Committee Slams Editor's Resignation

01 May 2008

NEW YORK: The News Corporation media empire has come under fire from the oversight committee set up to safeguard the Wall Street Journal's editorial integrity.

The company, headed by Rupert Murdoch, is accused of failing to meet "the letter and the spirit" of its agreement with the committee following the resignation last week of managing editor, Marcus Brauchli.

The five-strong committee, set up when the Bancroft family agreed to sell Dow Jones and its flagship publication to NewsCorp, says it did not have enough prior knowledge of the resignation.

By the time it was informed, the committee says it was too late to have any sway over the matter. It is supposed to be consulted over changes in management suite personnel at the newspaper.

A statement released by committee members said: "Although our charter does not directly envision a process for dealing with a resignation, committee members expressed the view that learning of the Brauchli matter after the fact failed to meet the letter and the spirit of the agreement."

The statement continued: "The committee met subsequently and decided there was no practical way to 'unresign' Brauchli and start the process over."

Brauchli himself is remaining with the paper in a consultancy role.

He said he did not view it as necessary to report his "voluntary resignation" to the committee, but added: "I regret that they first learned of my resignation late in the process."

NewsCorp has not commented.

However, Christopher Bancroft, who opposed his family's sale of Dow Jones, declared: "I expected this paper to be transformed in the way Mr Murdoch wants it to be, and it will be, regardless of all the window dressing."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff