The WSJs Little Committee That Failed… : Columbia Journalism Review
So much for the editorial side agreement that was supposed to protect The Wall Street Journal’s editorial independence from News Corp. meddling.And so much for the five luminaries who make up the committee designed to enforce the agreement.The rapid ejection of Marcus Brauchli as managing editor of the world’s leading financial publication—like a dead dugong blown from a didgeridoo—reveals the value of that particular bureaucracy.Five Mr. Bill dolls molded with facial expressions of concern and dismay would have done as well. Oooh nooo! There goes Marcus. Oooh!The fact is, however, that the committee’s powers are broader than cynics—and there are so many of them—would have you believe, and that the committee, led by Chairman Thomas Bray, a former Detroit News editorial page editor, in fact does have sign-off responsibilities on this particular staffing change.Other committee members are: Lou Boccardi, former CEO of The Associated Press; Jack Fuller, former president of Tribune Publishing; Susan Phillips, dean of the George Washington University business school; Nicholas Negroponte, founding chairman of M.I.T.’s Media Lab. Each is paid $100,000 a year, plus expenses.Efforts to reach Bray and other committee members were unsuccessful. A Dow Jones spokesman declined to comment.Under the deal’s terms, the committee has rights of approval not only over hiring and firing of the M.E., but over material changes to the terms and conditions of his employment.