Wednesday, June 6, 2018

WSJ Names Matt Murray As New Editor-In-Chief

The Wall Street Journal named a new editor in chief on Tuesday, elevating Matthew J. Murray to the top spot at one of the country’s pre-eminent newspapers and bringing an end to the tenure of Gerard Baker, whose stewardship gave rise to unrest in the newsroom.

Gerard Baker
According to The NYTimes, the British-born, Oxford-educated Mr. Baker, who led the broadsheet for five and a half years, will remain at The Journal as a weekend columnist. He will also host live events and a Journal-themed show on the Fox Business Network, which, like the newspaper, is an arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

At The Journal, Mr. Baker oversaw a sharp rise in readership and an award-winning investigation that exposed fraudulent claims by the health care tech company Theranos. But he also faced apprehension among his staff.

Last year, at an all-hands meeting called to address concerns about coverage, Mr. Baker defended himself against accusations from reporters that the paper had gone easy on President Trump, and suggested that other news organizations had become overly negative in their coverage.

Matt Murray
Some of the complaints about Mr. Baker emanated from The Journal’s Washington bureau, which had bristled at his leadership role, given his past as an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama. Mr. Baker seemed friendlier toward Mr. Trump; during an Oval Office interview last year, the editor made small talk with the president about golf and greeted Ivanka Trump with a reminder that the two had socialized in the Hamptons a few weeks prior.

Baker’s replacement, Mr. Murray, is a 24-year veteran of Dow Jones and The Journal’s current executive editor. He will begin his new job on Monday.

His first task is likely to be improving staff morale.  A Washington native who was educated at Northwestern University, Mr. Murray, 52, will take charge of a newsroom during one of the most intense, and intensely scrutinized, news environments in recent history. He started at the company in 1994 and became The Journal’s banking reporter in 1997 before rising through the editing ranks. In 2013, he became a deputy to Mr. Baker.

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