It's really been a foregone conclusion for weeks, but it looks like Rupert Murdoch has officially won Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. Ken Doctor and Alan Mutter have terrific analyses of the denouement; there's a good reaction roundup in Editor & Publisher, too.
There's not a whole lot I can add to all of that verbiage, except that I continue to be amused by the incessant doom and gloom emanating from many journalists who've commented on Murdoch's bid for DJ. He'll make it a conservative rag! (Um, have you read the Journal's right wing editorial page, ever?) He'll fill the paper with frivolous content! (Um, do you actually read the Journal? It's long been the country's most entertaining and interesting paper precisely because of its excellent coverage of popular culture and the glorious frivolity that is Journal "A-hed" middle column feature.) Murdoch has no idea how to run a serious news organization! (Um, do you ever watch Fox News for news, rather than opinion? It's a damn good TV news operation.)
Above all, as I've said before, Murdoch is a smart businessman, and he's hardly going to kill the golden egg-laying goose that he's just purchased. And he'll get a lot more golden eggs out of it, because in contrast to Dow Jones' incompetent management of the past few years, Murdoch will wring all sorts of interesting synergy out of the Journal and the other DJ holdings, starting with his planned Fox Business News channel, which will be greatly augmented by Journal content, reporters and brand. He'll leverage the Journal internationally in ways Dow Jones couldn't even dream about. And he'll ratchet up the already excellent--but underfed--Web efforts of the Journal and Marketwatch.
At a time when newspaper companies are flailing around, and worse, about the future, Murdoch is a deep-pocketed, innovative change agent who can make Dow Jones far stronger than it would have been on its own. I'm not sure why breast-beating journalists should be opposed to that. Instead, they should be praying that something similar emerges as a happy ending for their own companies, though that seems doubtful, given the state of the industry. Knight Ridder is gone, Tribune is dangerously leveraged, McClatchy is struggling, and no major company in the industry is really healthy, with a bright future.
Except, as of today, Dow Jones.
Update: BusinessWeek's Ron Grover (a colleague of mine so long ago I'll bet he doesn't even remember) has an excellent analysis/forecast of Murdoch's plans for Dow Jones. Worth reading; I'll bet most of Ron's prescriptions will prove to be spot on over the next few years.