Murdoch Imports Hinton, Thomson to Shake Up WSJ (NWS)*

*UPDATE: Les Hinton’s “Hello, Dow Jones!” and Gordon Crovitz’s “Goodbye, Dow Jones!” memos after jump.

As expected, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch didn’t go through all that hell of buying Dow Jones so he could sit around and watch it function “independently.” No, Murdoch has big changes in store, starting at the top.

Murdoch lieutenant Les Hinton, chairman of News International, is replacing DJ CEO Richard Zannino. Hinton runs a portfolio of British papers, ranging from bastions of serious journalism to bastions of, um, less-serious journalism. So it’s hard to tell from this appointment whether the Journal will soon put nude Victoria’s Secret models on the cover. (We can always hope).

Ditto Robert Thomson, who currently runs the Times of London and will be replacing Gordon Crovitz as WSJ publisher. Crovitz has been lobbying hard for News Corp. to keep the WSJ’s pay wall up, so perhaps his departure is yet more confirmation that we’ll all soon be able to read the WSJ for free. (We can always hope.)

Hinton’s introductory memo to Dow Jones staff after jump. Crovitz’s departure memo to staff also after jump.

See Also:
WSJ Execs: Please, Please Don’t Make Us Free
Murdoch Taking WSJ Free–Just Can’t Say That Yet
Free the Wall Street Journal?  Running the Numbers
WSJ Going Free, Not Needed for Fox TV

Les Hinton’s Hello:

To all Dow Jones staff:
Some of you will already know that I am to become chief executiveofficer of Dow Jones & Company next week once the acquisition by NewsCorporation is complete.
First, I want tell you how thrilled I am. I also want you to know that,even after a lifetime in the media, I have never faced a moreexhilarating challenge.
Dow Jones has a great history and a great future as part of the NewsCorp. group of companies.

You will become part of what is, in many ways, a very different companyto Dow Jones. However, News Corp.’s ambitions are just the same: tocreate and grow media properties that will thrive in the years ahead.
Under Rupert Murdoch’s leadership, News Corp. has built itself through areadiness to challenge the odds and make radical, innovative decisions.Its principal resource, as with Dow Jones, is the energy and imaginationof its people. 
For the last 12 years, I have been executive chairman of NewsInternational in the UK. NI is the country’s largest publisher ofnational newspapers, with more than 10 million readers each day. It hasmany of the same challenges and opportunities as Dow Jones, and we willgain a lot by sharing ideas and working together.

Meanwhile, there are many people for me to meet and there is much for meto learn. I look forward to working with you in the years ahead andseeing as many of you as possible in the coming weeks.

Gordon Crovitz’s Goodbye:

I wanted to give you some additional background on changes relating to theacquisition of Dow Jones. Executives from News Corp. will take on keymanagement roles once the transaction occurs. As a result, I will step downas publisher of The Wall Street Journal and leave Dow Jones management, withmy last day in my current office being the date of closing.
I am gratified by what we have achieved together. We set out to integrateour brands and journalism across print, online and other digital channels.We now lead the media industry with a fully integrated structure, making TheWall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and our other leading franchisesmore valuable to readers and advertisers.
This integration across news, marketing, advertising, technology, operationsand other departments, which we started last year, resulted in significantimprovements in financial performance: The Wall Street Journal and thebroader Consumer Media Group are both strongly profitable this year, afterboth losing money in 2005.
The future of great journalistic enterprises is bright for those who can seeand seize the opportunities ahead. The Wall Street Journal franchise hasnever been more vibrant. The print Journal was redesigned early this year asthe first newspaper rethought for how people get their news in this DigitalAge. The results include an industry-leading seven straight quarters ofincreases in circulation revenue. now serves 10 million readers,including more than one million paid subscribers; indeed, has asmany paid online subscribers as there are paid readers of the print New YorkTimes. Advertising increasingly is delivered across the more than 20 millionconsumers that Dow Jones reaches across media and brands, boosting our shareof advertising revenues. The staffs of the Journal news and editorial pageshave continued to grow, delivering the best in business news, analysis andopinion, serving readers however, whenever and wherever they need ourjournalism.  
I am delighted that the Factiva joint venture we created a decade ago is nowthe leader in its industry and a key part of Dow Jones. The acquisition ofMarketWatch added millions of new online consumers and helped fuel ourdramatic growth in online profits. The acquisitions of Private EquityAnalyst, VentureWire, VentureSource and eFinancial News added new audiencesand highly successful businesses.
I am fortunate to have had a diverse career at The Wall Street Journal andDow Jones, over the course of 25 years, and look forward to continuing myaffiliation by contributing a column to the Journal on the Information Age.I am even more fortunate to have had the chance to work with literallythousands of you as colleagues. There is no stronger team in publishing, andI wish you and your new News Corp. colleagues all the best as this nextchapter begins. 

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