Yesterday I wrote briefly about The Wall Street Journal’s changes, and about the old-school feel of the Murdoch leadership. But I admit I kind of censored myself. I wanted to say that this must be a very frustrating time for Marcus Brauchli, who took on arguably the greatest job in business journalism, only to be overshadowed by constant speculation about the influence of Murdoch. Now Brauchli has , so it’s too late to look prescient, unfortunately.
I held back because it was so very difficult to get a handle on what Brauchli might have been thinking, and I can’t shake the reporter’s instinct that you have to stand it up. But he has been muted throughout this transition, which might have signalled something was afoot, or could have meant acquiescence. This wasn’t the job he signed up for, and just as the announcement of his succession was almost immediately swallowed by rumors of the acquisition, so his tenure would always have been overshadowed by the Murdoch story. Amid the intense media interest in Murdoch, it would have been nearly impossible to construct his own route for the paper, even if he was given the scope to do so.
Editors take a lot of crap, and the only real upside is that you are master and commander of the content - at least in an ideal world. Even if Brauchli had agreed with the changes imposed, he would still be running someone else’s show. And for an editor of that calibre, that’s just intolerable.