In addition to squandering the Journal’s competitive advantage, News Corp. management is gambling with a critical national resource. It’s a loss to the public when no one is doing the kinds of stories that made the Journal great, whether it’s Susan Faludi on the human cost of the Safeway buyout, James Stewart on insider trading, or Alix Freedman on the tobacco industry. At a moment when capitalism is the most important story going, such work should find readers.

A young Journal reporter, over drinks in a Brooklyn bar, welcomed some of the recent changes at the paper. He enthused over the Web site. He’s glad the paper is reaching a global audience. But he’s not so sure that his new bosses are able stewards of the newspaper’s brand. He ordered another round: “I just hope these people are smart enough to know what not to change.”

* Correction: The original text said the party was in December 2007, four months after the purchase. It was in December 2008, one year after the purchase.

Liza Featherstone is a regular contributor to Slate's The Big Money Web site, and the author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at Wal-Mart.