WSJ: Murdoch Not Idiot. Analyst: WSJ Not Paragon of Virtue

The Wall Street Journal weighs in ($) on what Murdoch will do–and won’t do.  Much of it echoes what we’ve been saying over the past month.  Key points:

  • Murdoch won’t wreck the Journal.  He would be an idiot to pay a 67% premium over the company’s trading value to destroy it.
  • Of course owners control their newspapers (except the Bancrofts)–and should.
  • Editorial independence is a smart business decision. 
  • WSJ.com is about to hit 1 million subscribers (implication: we’re not planning to make it free).

Meanwhile, my former Merrill Lynch colleague and sharp newspaper analyst Lauren Fine weighs in at paidcontent with some additional thoughts:

  • The Bancrofts were in dream land.
  • Just because journalism is important doesn’t mean journalists deserve a sense of entitlement about it (newspapers are, first and foremost, a business).
  • The Journal, though a great paper, is not the paragon of objective reporting that it holds itself out to be.  Independence is not the same as “free from bias.”
  • The migration of classifieds to the Internet is destroying the traditional newspaper business.  This is not bad or good.  It just is.

And now on to the next story, please.

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