June 16, 2007

Lawyers Advised Wall Street Journal Owners to Hire Internal Ombuds

Lawyers for the Bancroft family, which owns a majority stake in the Wall Street Journal, recommended a plan to preserve the paper's independence and integrity if the company is sold to Rupert Murdoch. The confidential legal memo from the prestigious firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, proposed that the Wall Street Journal create an internal ombudsman appointed by a "Special Committee" of the Board of Directors.
Editors or other employees could approach the ombudsman with concerns or issues relating to editorial and journalistic independence and integrity issues. The ombudsman would communicate such issues that he/she believes are appropriate to the Special Committee.

The LA Times concluded that the plan would have been unprecedented in American media. Although the proposal has since been rejected, it offers insights into not only the Bancrofts' deep mistrust of Murdoch, but the creativity of high powered outside counsel. (
LA Times.)

Do we have friends at Wachtell Lipton?

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