Rupert vs Pinch

Newsweek offers a 4000 word examination of the coming battle between Rupert Murdoch and Pinch Sulzberger. Tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal will debut some major changes reflecting the makeover underway since News Corporation purchased the paper from the Bancroft family, its longtime owners.

This comes in the wake of a disastrous first quarter earnings
report, which showed not just a net loss, but the company's abject failure to make good on its announced cost-cutting program.

Newsweek compares the battle to the historic 19th century confrontation between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst for dominance of the New York newspaper market. While intriguing, the comparison understates the significance of the current face-off, for the reach of the Times and the Journal is worldwide today, and the changing technology of internet distribution lends a far more dynamic cast to the strategic clash of titans.

According to the piece, here is what we sill see in tomorrow's WSJ:

As of Monday, the second section, Marketplace, becomes home to the Journal's coverage of corporate America, while the third section, Money and Investing, remains the showcase for news of the financial markets and investing. A culture section is under development for a fall debut in the Journal's weekend edition, and Murdoch has added a weekly sports page. The op-ed section, famous for its erudite and influential espousal of conservative ideology, will grow to three pages from two.

A couple of decades ago, I sat across the aisle from Rupert Murdoch on an intercontinental airliner (I was actually surprised that he wasn't on a private jet), and watched him work constantly, with aides shuttling back and forth from the cheaper seats bringing him papers and taking them away, for about 8 hours. The man is a bear for work. And he knows a lot about how to acquire and turn around operations. Newsweek writes:

Rather than entrust the job of all this to subordinates, Murdoch has been devoting half his time since acquiring Dow Jones to reshaping the paper. He has become a regular and jarring presence in the Journal newsroom: ever since he appeared unannounced on Easter-to, as he puts it, "set an example"-top editors have been dragging themselves into the Journal's headquarters across from Ground Zero on Sundays.

Does anyone imagine Pinch Sulzberger rolled up his sleeves and started putting in time on Sundays and holidays to work on about.com or the Boston Globe when his company acquired them? Did he go to work with the troops and inspire them to redouble their efforts?

In the case of the Globe, the acquisition has been an outright disaster, while about.com has been a mere disappointment -- failing to increase earnings in  line with the rich price paid for it. Yet Pinch has not been visibly involved in either operation, and certainly has not set a visible example of diligence. The comparison speaks volumes about the success of Rupert and the failure of Pinch.

All in all, a worthwhile read.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Newsweek offers a 4000 word examination of the coming battle between Rupert Murdoch and Pinch Sulzberger. Tomorrow, the Wall Street Journal will debut some major changes reflecting the makeover underway since News Corporation purchased the paper from the Bancroft family, its longtime owners.

This comes in the wake of a disastrous first quarter earnings
report, which showed not just a net loss, but the company's abject failure to make good on its announced cost-cutting program.

Newsweek compares the battle to the historic 19th century confrontation between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst for dominance of the New York newspaper market. While intriguing, the comparison understates the significance of the current face-off, for the reach of the Times and the Journal is worldwide today, and the changing technology of internet distribution lends a far more dynamic cast to the strategic clash of titans.

According to the piece, here is what we sill see in tomorrow's WSJ:

As of Monday, the second section, Marketplace, becomes home to the Journal's coverage of corporate America, while the third section, Money and Investing, remains the showcase for news of the financial markets and investing. A culture section is under development for a fall debut in the Journal's weekend edition, and Murdoch has added a weekly sports page. The op-ed section, famous for its erudite and influential espousal of conservative ideology, will grow to three pages from two.

A couple of decades ago, I sat across the aisle from Rupert Murdoch on an intercontinental airliner (I was actually surprised that he wasn't on a private jet), and watched him work constantly, with aides shuttling back and forth from the cheaper seats bringing him papers and taking them away, for about 8 hours. The man is a bear for work. And he knows a lot about how to acquire and turn around operations. Newsweek writes:

Rather than entrust the job of all this to subordinates, Murdoch has been devoting half his time since acquiring Dow Jones to reshaping the paper. He has become a regular and jarring presence in the Journal newsroom: ever since he appeared unannounced on Easter-to, as he puts it, "set an example"-top editors have been dragging themselves into the Journal's headquarters across from Ground Zero on Sundays.

Does anyone imagine Pinch Sulzberger rolled up his sleeves and started putting in time on Sundays and holidays to work on about.com or the Boston Globe when his company acquired them? Did he go to work with the troops and inspire them to redouble their efforts?

In the case of the Globe, the acquisition has been an outright disaster, while about.com has been a mere disappointment -- failing to increase earnings in  line with the rich price paid for it. Yet Pinch has not been visibly involved in either operation, and certainly has not set a visible example of diligence. The comparison speaks volumes about the success of Rupert and the failure of Pinch.

All in all, a worthwhile read.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky