DJ’s unsuitable suitors

Bancrofts in a tight spot

The news that Dow Jones & Co.’s controlling Bancroft family will consider selling the company, including to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., while not a surprise, is still a shock. Neither public company mentioned as a potential suitor mentioned in todays’ New York Times, General Electric Co. and News Corp., is a suitable owner, each for its own reasons. Closely held Bloomberg L.P. is problematic, at best. That Maurice R. Greenberg, former CEO of the most secretive of all public company giants, American International Group Inc., even deserves mention is an unfunny joke, for reasons I’ll get to if it ever becomes necessary. However, the Bancrofts’ stated commitment to DJ’s “editorial independence, integrity and journalistic freedom” should not to be taken lightly. Still, they’re in a tight spot.

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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.