The content review was not officially shared with the newsroom and its recommendations were not implemented, but it does affect the way employees work: A dead end over the report has led to a shared newsroom according to interviews with 25 current and former employees. The company, it is said, avoided making the proposed changes because of a battle for brewery power between Mr. Murray and the newcomer The publisher Almar Latour has contributed to a stalemate that threatens the future of the journal.
Mr. Murray and Mr. Latour, 50, represent two extremes of the Murdoch model employee. Mr. Murray is the tactful editor; Mr. Latour is the bold entrepreneur. The two rose within the organization at around the same time. When the moment came to replace Gerry Baker as top editor in 2018, both were viewed as Candidate.
The two men never hit it off, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Or as a manager who knows both well: “They hate each other.” The digital strategy report only increased the strain on their relationship – and with it the direction of the crown jewel in the Murdoch news empire.
Their longstanding professional rivalry is based on both personality and approach. Mr. Murray is more deliberate, while Mr. Latour is quick to act. But the core of their friction is still a mystery to those who are familiar with them.
In a statement, Dow Jones denied this characterization and said there was no friction between the editor and the publisher. It also cited “record profits and record subscriptions” which it attributed to “the wisdom of its current strategy”. Both Mr. Murray and Mr. Latour declined to be interviewed for this article.
About a month after filing the report, Ms. Story’s strategy team was concerned that its work might never come to light, said three people with knowledge of the matter, and a draft was forwarded to one of the journal’s media reporters. Jeffrey Trachtenberg. He submitted an extensive article about it late last summer.
But the first look external readers and most staff got of the document wasn’t in the journal. In October, a scaled-down version of The Content Review was given to BuzzFeed News with a link to the document as a sideways scan. (Employees who really wanted to read the report had to turn their heads 90 degrees.)