Rafat Ali at paidcontent relays an LA Times story that Rupert Murdoch has personally called at least three Wall Street Journal reporters who are/were planning to jump ship to try to persuade them to stay: Tara Parker-Pope, headed to the NYT, Kate Kelly (considering NYT) and Henny Sender (considering FT). Kate has now apparently decided to stay put, but is also apparently saying that the Murdoch call didn’t have anything to do with the decision.
From Rupert’s perspective, this is smart business. Everything Rupert has done with regard to the Journal, from the opening bid, to the Bancroft courting, to the discussions of hypothetical strategy has been smart. Based on this behaviour, plus a half-century of success in the newspaper business, it’s hard to understand why a lot of folks in the Journal newsroom still seem convinced that he’ll take the paper straight to hell.
Will there be changes? Yes. Will the changes screw everything up? Unlikely. Was the Journal perfect before Murdoch arrived? No. Change is painful, and if you’re thrilled with the status quo, it’s also probably a negative (though hard to tell for sure until it’s done). Change is also opportunity, however, and in this case, there is a vast group of people who are no doubt thrilled about Murdoch’s arrival but who also have the good sense to keep their mouths shut: the legions of talented junior WSJ staffers and other industry business reporters who would die to sit in Kate and Henny’s chairs.