The Murdochisation of the Wall Street Journal is complete: publisher Robert Thomson is ceding that role to Dow Jones CEO and former News International boss Les Hinton and is switching roles officially to managing editor of the Journal and the new title of Dow Jones editor-in-chief. Hinton was previously News International chairman. Recently departed The Times editor Thompson has been WSJ interim managing editor since Marcus Brauchli left his post last month at the pair’s urgng. (The DJ press release puts it this way: “Mr. Brauchli resigned after a meeting with Dow Jones executives.”) Thomson’s appointment was announced by News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.
Thomson will oversee the Journal’s news pages and the editorial operations of Dow Jones Newswires. Neal Lipschutz, the managing editor of Newswires who until now reported to the publisher, will report to him, while Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of the Journal, will report to new publisher Hinton. An Australian native, Thompson joined Dow Jones after nearly six years as editor of News Corp’s Times of London. Before that, he served as editor of the Financial Times’ U.S. edition for four years.
Brauchli’s departure brought a wave of criticism directed at the special committee for editorial integrity created as part of the Dow Jones acquisition. It said it was left out of the process. This time, News Corp says that the same committee was notified last week and unanimously approved Thompson’s appointment. Hinton addressed the issue in the announcement: “In hindsight, we recognize it would have more been appropriate to have advised the Committee in advance of reaching an agreement with Mr. Brauchli. We have apologized to the Committee members and undertaken that in future we will consult with it and seek approval of the Committee before taking any action with respect to an editor that could result in a material change in an editor