Dow Jones Union Leader Denounces Murdoch Offer

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By: Joe Strupp

For the second time since Rupert Murdoch’s $5 billion offer to buy Dow Jones was revealed earlier this week, the president of the company’s largest employee union has denounced the attempt with a letter to members saying he was “particularly troubled” by comments Murdoch made to The New York Times today.

Steve Yount, president of the Independent Association of Publisher’s Employees, CWA Local 1096, wrote that Murdoch’s comments in the Times noting how he would change the paper sparked concern and offered another reason to oppose the purchase.

“I was particularly troubled by an apparent off-hand comment…quoting Mr. Murdoch this way, ‘I’m sometimes frustrated by the long stories,’ he said, adding that he rarely gets around to finishing some articles,” Yount wrote, in part. “I’m afraid Mr. Murdoch doesn’t understand why The Wall Street Journal is The Wall Street Journal. Not everything is five paragraphs and a picture. Dow Jones did not become the most trusted source of business news and information in the world by serving up News Nuggets.”

Yount, who issued a terse statement opposing the buyout just hours after the Murdoch bid was made public on Tuesday, reiterated the union’s stance again, saying, “We believe that what’s at stake here is the essence of everything you do: the unquestioned integrity, objectivity and independence of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal.”

The letter also criticized Dow Jones for canceling a union bargaining session on Monday.

The entire letter, posted on the union’s Web site, is below.
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Friends,

I wanted to share a couple of quick thoughts on a couple of “items of interest” with more to come on both in the next few days.

First of all, the News Corp bid for Dow Jones: We’ve made it clear that we’re opposed to the takeover. We believe that what’s at stake here is the essence of everything you do: the unquestioned integrity, objectivity and independence of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. I was particularly troubled by an apparent off-hand comment in the New York Times interview with Rupert Murdoch, quoting Mr. Murdoch this way, “I’m sometimes frustrated by the long stories,” he said, adding that he rarely gets around to finishing some articles.” I’m afraid Mr. Murdoch doesn’t understand why The Wall Street Journal is The Wall Street Journal. Not everything is five paragraphs and a picture. Dow Jones did not become the most trusted source of business news and information in the world by serving up News Nuggets.

Secondly, the contract bargaining: Dow Jones canceled last Monday’s scheduled session without offering an explanation — although the “why” now seems obvious — and without setting a date for the next session. The bargaining will continue and our bottom line remains the same: Quality People deserve a Quality Contract.

The News Corp bid for Dow Jones dramatically underscores that position. The real value of Dow Jones is not a name or a masthead or a “brand.” The real value is the quality that you bring to the product. Your efforts are why News Corp is willing to offer $5 billion for Dow Jones: Those efforts must be recognized, rewarded and protected.

One thing is clear: Your voice is being heard. By management. By the Bancroft family. By Rupert Murdoch. By everyone. You make a difference. We have to continue the fight to preserve the quality, integrity and independence of Dow Jones.

As always, let me know what you think . . . and if you need me, give me a call.

Steve Yount
President
IAPE CWA 1096





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