Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Wall Street Journal Demonstrates its Editorial Independence?

Note the question mark. I had my doubts in light of Marcus Brauchli's resignation, but they were somewhat assuaged by this prominently displayed article in the Journal today.

While I tend to agree with CJR Daily's description of the editorial independence committee as the "little commitee that failed," I thought the Journal's own coverage was reassuring. In effect, the Journal is asserting its editorial independence by writing about its lack of editorial independence.

This is not to say that any newspaper can ever be "independent" of its owner -- the whole exercise is a bit ludicrous -- but the Journal's feisty staff is clearly trying. It's a losing battle, of course, but a brave one.

Incidentally, I'd be interested to see more analysis of the Journal in the Murdoch vs. pre-Murdoch era. One study found that there is more emphasis on political news, but that doesn't mean much because this is an election year. I'd rather see some examination of the extent to which the takeover has changed the Journal's traditional emphasis on investigative and long-form journalism.

Sometimes anecdotal evidence is better than line-count surveys, however.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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