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Wall Street Journal managing editor to resign

April 22, 2008 12:06 IST

Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, Marcus Brauchli, is expected resign after less than a year in the post, a media report said on Tuesday.

The resignation could come on Tuesday, the New York Times quoted two people with knowledge of his plans. His impending departure was first reported on Time magazine's Web site.

The Journal's parent, Dow Jones and Company was acquired by media Moghul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, four months ago. Murdoch declined to comment on Monday night, the Times said even as some analysts see a possible war between the Journal and the New York Times.

Though the Times did not give any reason for Brauchli leaving the Journal, Newsweek reported that the Journal, known for its financial reporting, is being fashioned to the tastes of Murdoch, the man who revolutionised media markets from Australia to North American.

With its increased focus on politics, international news, culture and sports, Murdoch's re-conceived Journal represents nothing short of a formal declaration of war on that "most venerable of journalistic institutions, The New York Times," Newsweek says.

The fight could escalate in unknown ways if billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ends up acquiring the Times.

Newsweek says top associates of the one time information executive are encouraging him to do just that.

In interviews last week, Newsweek reported that a member of Bloomberg's inner circle confirmed that the mayor's confidants and closest associates are, in fact, encouraging him to explore the idea of a Bloomberg-New York Times merger.

Bloomberg declined to comment. But Newsweek quotes sources as saying the proponents of the merger are appealing to the mayor's sense of "civic-mindedness,"

arguing that he is best suited to take the publishing company private to "help protect the brand" in the wake of relentless shareholder assaults.

Murdoch, for one, sees a natural fit between Bloomberg and the Journal's rival. Bloomberg, he notes, has pledged to remain a force in national public life after leaving New York's city hall at the end of next year. To that end, owning the Times would help immensely, Murdoch reasons.

Yet the prospect of competing against a Bloomberg-owned Times appears to rattle him. "I wouldn't look forward to going up against him," Murdoch told Newsweek, citing his "great respect for Bloomberg's business abilities."

Many media-industry watchers, journalists and communications experts, says Newsweek, argue that the Journal will never pose much of a threat to the Times' franchise. In fact, the changes could damage the Journal brand.

"Turning a paper into an old-fashioned variety show -- we have a little of everything -- I don't think is the route to success," a former senior Dow Jones executive is quoted as saying. "The risk you run is that you are not best at anything."

But the magazine says the same critics also warn that "it's never a good time to have to confront someone like Murdoch, who doesn't care about making money on a particular product."

New York Times CEO Janet Robinson said last week that the Times is prepared for the confrontation with Murdoch.

"The New York Times," she told analysts, "has had broad coverage for 156 years now, and from that perspective we are far advanced in the type of journalism we create and the type of advertising we bring into the paper." 

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