Time.com is reporting that Marcus Brauchli, the last Wall Street Journal managing editor appointed under Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) ownership, plans to leave the paper one year after he took the job — and four months after News Corp took over. WSJ.com has posted its own version, attributed to its own source but noting the earlier report. His resignation and the announcement could come as early as Tuesday morning.
Brauchli’s departure could be the first real test of the editorial independence committee appointed as part of the News Corp acquisition. The committee is supposed to approve Brauchli’s successor.
Time: “The separation is said to be amicable and Brauchli is likely to stay with the company in a yet-to-be-determined capacity. One source says a search is already underway for the next managing editor.”
Update: The Journal has updated its story considerably, saying Brauchli “is expected to resign” after only 11 months on the job and that publisher Robert Thomson (NYSE: TOC), a Murdoch import, “may take over as interim managing editor of the paper, say these people. In spite of the publisher title, Mr. Thomson already was involved in overseeing editorial matters for Dow Jones properties such as the Journal, newswires and Barron’s magazine. A search for a new managing editor was expected to begin shortly, with candidates coming from both inside and outside the paper.” (Thomson followed L. Gordon Crovitz as publisher; the former publisher and Dow Jones EVP is now writing a column for the Journal that debuted today.)
As for the committee’s role, here’s what the Journal now says: “Although Mr. Brauchli is planning to resign, the committee is empowered to look into concerns about the editorial integrity of the Journal, according to a person who has reviewed the agreement. The committee could also, in the same way, assert a right to approve a replacement to Mr. Brauchli.”
The unbylined article goes on to talk about the myriad changes Murdoch has made at the Journal “although he generally held the paper in high regard,” mentioning the quick resignation of most key DJ execs and his push for editorial changes — and this language reads like an internal memo — “more general news in addition to business news, the upcoming launch of a glossy luxury magazine, more variety and urgency on section fronts.”
And, for the kicker, the news came out as Murdoch and Brauchli attended a dinner in Washington tonight where Murdoch was honored.
NYT: Unidentified friends and colleagues of Brauchli “differed as to whether he was being forced out as managing editor of The Journal, one of the most coveted posts in journalism, or leaving out of frustration..” Two sources told the NYT that instructions to thin the editor ranks, possibly for more reporters, “had become a major point of contention.” Also mentioned: changes ordered from above and Thomson’s presence in the newsroom as a “supereditor looking over Mr. Brauchli