Steve Chiotakis: The publisher of the Wall Street Journal in Europe has stepped down amid accusations his paper fudged circulation numbers, and tried to influence editorial content. It’s the latest drama in Britain involving the owner of the Journal, Rupert Murdoch.
Reporter Christopher Werth is with us now from London with the latest on this story. Good morning, Christopher.
Christopher Werth: Hey. Good morning, Steve.
Chiotakis: What exactly are we talking about here? What are the allegations?
Werth: What appears to have happened is that the paper was using an elaborate networks of companies to boost circulation numbers. This came to light as a result of reporting by the British newspaper The Guardian here in London. And it apparently worked like this: the Wall Street Journal Europe channeled money through these companies, which allowed them to buy newspapers — those companies — to buy newspapers at rock-bottom prices; therefore making the paper’s circulation numbers look much better than they otherwise would have.
Chiotakis: So who was responsible for this, Chris?
Werth: It’s not completely clear who knew about this, or when they knew about it. But the managing director at Dow Jones in Europe — his name is Andrew Langhoff — he resigned on Tuesday. And emails appear to directly implicate him.
Chiotakis: Exactly how much did this scheme boost circulation?
Werth: Reports suggest as much as 40 percent of a circulation of about 75,000 — which is quite a lot. And you know, News Corp. — the owner of the Wall Street Journal Europe — has been embroiled in a hacking controversy over here in Britain. And I spoke with Roy Greenslade (he teaches media at City University in London) about what this does to Rupert Murdoch, the head of the company.
Roy Greenslade: Well it’s another blow to the credibility of Rupert Murdoch and the way that his company is run. Clearly the checks and balances that should be in place are not there.
And he says that shows News Corp. is really in need of a massive overhaul in its operations.
Chiotakis: Christopher Werth joining us from London. Chris, thanks.
Werth: Hey, thanks Steve.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.