In a move that was perhaps even less shocking than today’s Oregon and Kentucky primary results, The Wall Street Journal announced today that former publisher Robert Thomson will serve as the new managing editor of the paper. Since the departure of his predecessor, Marcus Brauchli, Thomson — whom Rupert Murdoch brought in from the Times of London to shape up his new acquisition — had been acting as director of content for the paper anyway. But the editorial committee set up by the Bancroft family during the sale of Dow Jones to News Corp. needed to sign off on his official appointment, which they did through an announcement yesterday.
This will put Thomson in charge of the editorial operations of the second-largest paper in America. He will also retain editorial control of the Dow Jones Newswires, powers he had during his brief stint as publisher.
Somewhat hilariously, Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton brushed aside accusations that Murdoch and News Corp. disregarded the rules of the editorial-oversight committee by forcing out Brauchli earlier this year. “The Company believes it was acting in accordance with the agreement and had no intention of subverting the role of the Special Committee,” Hinton said. “In hindsight, we recognize it would have more been appropriate to have advised the Committee in advance of reaching an agreement with Mr. Brauchli.”
He added that in the future “we will consult with it and seek approval of the Committee before taking any action with respect to an editor that could result in a material change in an editor’s duties, responsibilities or reporting relationships or the departure of that editor.” Oh! In the future you’ll do that. As though that wasn’t exactly what you were contractually obligated to do from the very beginning.