I also had a feeling that page-one didn’t fully understand that the blame for the mortgage crisis is not a toss-up between borrowers and the financial services industry.

But even if the true leders—well-developed feature stories—had been reduced to one a day, from two, the strong ones and fun ones and core ones to me seemed to appear as least as frequently as before the simultaneous Brauchli/News Corp. takeover, and the dreary duds were no more frequent.

But Brauchli’s exit is a bit like the boy taking his finger out of the dike.

With Brauchli gone, the Journal newsroom loses not just a topflight editor and bureau chief, a great Asia hand, and someone who was a real, live reporter, one who displayed sophistication (1), prescience (2) and conscience (3). It also loses a surprisingly savvy internal diplomat who, I thought, might just have been adroit enough to manage the inevitable tensions that would arise from the takeover, at least enough to preserve some of the Journal’s great journalistic heritage.

I don’t think the dike is going to hold.

I’ll have more on what I think is coming in another post. And, no, it’s not good that Murdoch is buying Newsday either, for some of the same reasons I’ll get to.

1. Speak No Evil: Why the World Bank Failed to Anticipate Indonesia’s Deep Crisis —- It Often Soft-Pedaled Effects Of Country’s Corruption, Misread Extent of Poverty —- `Caught Up in Enthusiasm’
By Marcus W. Brauchli
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
14 July 1998

2. Cost of Growth: China’s Environment Is Severely Stressed As Its Industry Surges —- Beijing Seeks Foreign Help In Addressing a Problem With Global Implications —- Role for Western Companies
By Marcus W. Brauchli
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
25 July 1994
The Wall Street Journal

3. Toil and Trouble: Workers in New China Often Find Hardship Tied to Opportunity —- Forced Overtime in Factories, Poor Food and Dank Beds Fill Their Long Days —- Now Unrest Is Spreading
By Marcus W. Brauchli and Joseph Kahn
Staff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal
19 May 1994

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Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.