When News Corp. bought Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal last year, part of the rationale was that Rupert Murdoch could use the WSJ’s reporters to help bolster its fledgling Fox Businesss Network — but not for a while. That’s because the WSJ and GE’s CNBC had already signed a contract that gives the cable network the exclusive rights to the Journal’s talent through 2012.
Or not. Fox Business now looks set on exploiting what it says is a loophole in the CNBC deal: Fox Business Network EVP Kevin Magee says he thinks he can use WSJ reporters and editors, after all.
Magee, speaking at the Always On conference yesterday, didn’t go into details about FBN’s plans to use WSJ staff. But he did lay out his case: “There are some restrictions. We can’t just go ahead and use anything. I believe the restrictions involve regularly-scheduled, branded segments. There is a carve-out for non-business news and there is a carve-out for breaking news.”
How does Magee know? He was working at CNBC when the deal was struck. “The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones has an existing contract with CNBC that actually got started while I was there; I was part of the team that helped integrate it,” he said.
Fox News is already making liberal use of some of the WSJ’s most prominent writers, including columnist Peggy Noonan and Washington bureau chief Jerry Seib during Fox’s SOTU coverage. And the WSJ is moving physically into News Corp. headquarters by the end of the year.
Said Magee: “We are already starting to see some of that synergy. It sure is nice to have in your back pocket.”
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