Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dow Jones Undercuts 'Integrity' Argument

David Pauly of Bloomberg has an excellent column on one of the less savory aspects of the Dow Jones-Rupert Murdoch struggle -- the golden parachute severance packages that have been awarded to Dow Jones managers, in the event of a takeover.

This is a far cry from the big Zilch Package that will greet rank-and-file Dow Jones employees, when (not if, when) Murdoch takes over and begins slicing away at staffing.

By doing so, Pauly writes, "Dow Jones has just shown a decided lack of integrity . . . or at least shown it was no different than any run-of-the-mill company."

I don't believe that this undercuts the view that the Wall Street Journal needs to be treated as a public trust. But I do believe that it is a cover-your-rump action that is poorly timed, as well as insensitive to the reporters and editors who face loss of their jobs.

Says Pauly:

Dow Jones stock traded as high as $77.31 in June 2000. While all newspaper stocks have been plagued by the Internet, Dow Jones executives haven't been able to distinguish themselves. Zannino and his crew proved their mediocrity when they voted to protect themselves if the family does sell.
Excuse me. If? You must mean, when the family does sell.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site,

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