Thomson-Reuters vs NewsCorp-Dow Jones


has the memo from David Schlesinger, the editor-in-chief of

Reuters, and a key member of the team which made the final decision to let their

company be sold to Canada’s Thomson.

Clearly, the Directors of the Reuters Founders Share Company had to approve

of this new company. They did it because our partner and its controlling shareholder

have similar values to the values Reuters has always been proud of and espoused.

More importantly, they did it because the Reuter Trust Principles will now

apply across the combined company, and not simply the part that came from

Reuters. That gives the Trust Principles new power and life, and allows us

to build on 156 years of tradition as a platform for a new century of growth…

As part of Thomson–Reuters, we will have the resources and a renewed

will to expand our news coverage to inform and give insight to customers in

their professional and personal lives.

One can’t help but think of another public media company which is controlled

by a small group of insiders: Dow Jones. While Schlesinger and his colleagues

embraced the approach from Thomson, the Bancroft family felt that they should

reject the approach from Rupert Murdoch. And the reason they felt that way was

that Rupert Murdoch does not have similar values to the values they have always

been proud of and espoused.

For all that I think the proposed acquisition of Dow Jones is a good idea,

and will give Dow Jones "the resources and a renewed will to expand its

news coverage," in the words of Schelsinger, the fact remains that Rupert

Murdoch is a very different kind of press baron than the present owners of the

Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, Murdoch’s acquisition of Dow Jones must be contingent on his deliberately

insulating the Wall Street Journal from his personal influence — this is necessary

because he does, regularly, interfere personally at other media properties he


One can argue till the cows come home about the degree of influence that Murdoch

personally exercises over his broadsheet properties. It’s not huge, that much

is clear – but it’s definitely true that we Murdoch defenders are put

on the back foot by having to try to restrict discussion about editorial influence

to his broadsheets.

Murdoch’s overall approach to his media properties is undoubtedly much more

interventionist than the Bancrofts would ever be, which makes his proposed acquisition

much more problematic than the relatively easy tie-up between Thomson and Reuters.

This entry was posted in M&A, Media, publishing. Bookmark the permalink.