So, Just How Different Is Rupert Murdoch’s New Wall Street?

Apr 23, 2008

Rupert Murdoch made headlines this week with the resignation of Wall Street Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli, a reported $580 million bid for Newsday and more talk of how he is transforming the Journal's front page coverage to take on the New York Times.

How has the 119-year-old Journal changed since the Australian media magnate took over the paper on Dec. 13, 2007? A Project for Excellence in Journalism examination has the numbers. The study looked at the Journal front page every other weekday.

In the first four months of Murdoch's stewardship, the Journal's front page has clearly shifted focus, de-emphasizing business coverage that was the paper's franchise, while placing much more emphasis on domestic politics and devoting more attention to international issues. But it is not, at least not yet, as broad as the New York Times on the same days.

Under the Murdoch regime, the single biggest change in front-page coverage occurred with politics and the presidential campaign. From Dec. 13, 2007 through March 13, 2008, coverage more than tripled, jumping to 18% of the newshole compared with 5% in the four months before the ownership change.

Since the front page has a finite amount of space, that increase in political coverage seems to have come largely at the expense of business news. In the Murdoch era, coverage of corporate America has plunged by more than half -- to 14% of the front-page space from 30% in the months before the sale.

Read the full report So, Just How Different Is Rupert Murdoch’s New Wall Street? on the Pew Research Center Web site.

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