All Things Digital, the news site run by Kara Swisher and long-time Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, has severed its remaining ties to the parent company of the WSJ. According to a press release issued by Dow Jones on Thursday, both parties “have decided not to renew the agreement” when the contract between the two expires at the end of this year.
The decision leaves All Things Digital — which was wholly owned by Dow Jones — in limbo while it tries to find a new media partner or buyer. The site had been looking for a new deal in advance of the expiry of its contract with Dow Jones, but has apparently been unable to negotiate one. Potential buyers or partners are said to include Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal, Bloomberg and Conde Nast.
Dow Jones released a statement from Gerard Baker, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, which said:
“For years, Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal has enjoyed working with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to bring the best of tech coverage to readers around the world under the All Things Digital brand, however, after discussions, both parties have decided not to renew the agreement when the contract expires at the end of this year… As part of the mutual separation, Walt Mossberg will be leaving the Journal at the end of this year.”
Journal plans to expand its tech coverage
Interestingly enough, the statement also made it clear that the Journal wants to expand its technology coverage significantly, and also plans to develop what it calls an “international technology conference.” All Things Digital is well-known for the D series of conferences that Swisher and Mossberg developed during their time in the Dow Jones stable — and according to Fortune magazine’s Dan Primack, the parent company will retain the rights to the name All Things Digital. The Journal statement said:
“Technology is the central driver of economic growth and the Journal is committed to being the indispensable global source of news and information in this critical area. We plan to embark on a major global expansion of our technology coverage, which will include adding 20 reviewers, bloggers, visual journalists, editors, and reporters covering digital… we will also be expanding our conference franchise to include an international technology conference.”
For her part, Kara Swisher — who unlike Mossberg was not an employee of Dow Jones but was on contract to the company for her role in All Things Digital — seemed optimistic: