Talk about Slo-Mo … a week after news broke that Marcus Brauchli was leaving as managing editor of the Wall Street Journal at the suggestion of News Corp-appointed execs, the much-criticized special committee for editorial integrity created as part of the Dow Jones acquisition now says it was left out of the process. The way it was presented last week, the committee met with Brauchli prior to the announcement. True, but it turns out that the committee was completely blindsided by the way DJ CEO Les Hinton and publisher Robert Thomson (NYSE: TOC) sought Brauchli’s resignation and his acceptance. Instead, they heard that Monday — after the deal was cut — via phone calls from News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch “alerting us to the fact that Brauchli had resigned and reached an “amicable” agreement with News Corp.”
From the committee’s statement: “The Committee intends to exercise fully its role in the approval of a successor managing editor and to take the steps necessary to prevent a repeat of the process it has just been through. The Committee will be meeting directly with Wall Street Journal Publisher Robert Thomson and News Corp (NYSE: NWS). officials in the near future to discuss these and other matters.”
The committee includes the MIT Media Lab’s Nicholas Negroponte; Thomas J. Bray, former Detroit News editorial page editor; Louis Boccardi, former AP CEO; Jack Fuller, former president of Tribune Publishing Co.; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Susan M. Phillips, dean of the George Washington University business school.
WSJ; Brauchli: “It was not our view that I had to report to the committee my voluntary resignation under the terms of the editorial agreement. I regret that they first learned of my resignation late in the process.”