The appointment of Robert Thomson, a veteran News Corp journalist, to the top job at the Wall Street Journal came as no surprise to the head of the paper’s biggest trade union.
“This is what everyone expected,” said Steve Yount, who, represents over 2,000 Dow Jones employees as the head of the local chapter of the Association of Puiblishers’ Employees.
But no one should have been surprised, Yount told Editor & Publisher, that Murdoch would appoint someone well-known to him to the most important post at the paper.
The former Times editor was appointed publisher of the WSJ in December, shortly after News Corp had completed its multi-billion dollar acquisition of Dow Jones. It’s expected Thomson will hasten the many changes that Murdoch has in mind for the Journal, including the launching of a new glossy magazine due to debut later this year, and edited by another former Times journalist Tina Gaudoin.
Another News Corp veteran, former News International boss Les Hinton, has been assigned the position of publisher, the job that Thomson previously held. This is in addition to Hinton’s job as chief executive of Dow Jones.
Yount was not sure, he admitted, whether the changes Murdoch makes will affect the Journal’s integrity. “At least,” he added “he hasn’t placed naked women on Page Three. Is that an encouraging sign?”
To his members who recently signed a new contract that runs through to 2010, he had this advice: “Just buckle down and do your job.”