NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch's softly softly approach to his pursuit of US publisher Dow Jones [WARC News: 14-May-07] has led him to offer the firm's controlling Bancroft dynasty editorial independence for flagship title The Wall Street Journal, plus representation on the News Corporation board.

This psychological sweetener of NewsCorp's $5 billion (€3.68bn; £2.51bn) bid follows reports that some members of the 35-strong clan are willing to meet with Murdoch (pictured), despite their initial rejection of his offer and concerns over editorial integrity under his ownership.

In a letter to the family the NewsCorp chairman/ceo assures them that "first and foremost, I am a newspaper man. I don't apologize for the fact that I have always had strong opinions and strong ideas about newspapers; but I have also always respected the independence and integrity of the news organizations with which I am associated."

He goes on to insist the Journal represents "American journalism at its best. . . . Any interference - or even hint of interference - would break the trust that exists between the paper and its readers, something I am unwilling to countenance."

Murdoch gave the same assurances when he bought the venerable UK institutions The Times and sister title the Sunday Times. Veteran campaigning journalist Harold Evans lasted a year as editor of the daily paper under Murdoch's rule. His account of the experience, Good Times, Bad Times, is available at all good book shops.

Data sourced from Washington Post Online; additional information by WARC staff