Good News (For Once) At The Journal

Two internal promotions are hopeful signs in the News Corporation era

Say what you want about News Corporation’s takeover of The Wall Street Journal, and we have, and the ham-handed ouster/buyout of its managing editor, Marcus Brauchli, and we have, his successor, Robert Thomson, just made a couple of good personnel choices.

Rupert Murdoch’s man on Liberty Street promoted to key jobs two editors who have long, excellent histories at the paper, according to internal memos scooped up by Chris Roush over at Talking Biz News.

Ken Brown, deputy editor of the WSJ’s Money & Investing group and one of my old bosses, will take over as chief of the Money & Investing section. Known internally as “third front,” the section covers Wall Street, stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, hedge funds and is in many ways the paper’s beating heart. He succeeds Nik Deogun, who’s the new international editor.

As the paper’s real estate bureau chief in 2005, when I worked for him, Brown pushed early on for stories on the credit bubble and created a finance beat in the real estate group to prepare for the big problems he saw brewing. That was at a time when everyone’s outlook in the industry was sunnier than Goldilocks’. As a “Heard on the Street” writer, a very difficult job, Brown simply excelled, as Dean Starkman wrote when Brown returned to the paper from a money-management fund last year.

Thomson also promoted another of my former bosses (bosses being in no short supply there), Rebecca Blumenstein, to international news editor (I worked for her briefly back in 2002 when she was deputy technology chief). She’s been China bureau chief for three years and led the group’s Pulitzer-winning coverage—an award we note Thomson doesn’t mention—of the catastrophic environmental and social fallout that’s resulted from the rapid growth of China’s economy.

It’s a relief to see the promotions of these two, not just because they’re widely admired long-time staffers, or because we like them (we do), but because they’re skilled pros who produce great work. Ask anyone. Among other things it shows shrewd judgment by Thomson, who had numerous bad options but didn’t take them.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.