Wall Street Jour­nal rebels de­mand com­ment changes

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Christo­pher Wil­liams

HUN­DREDS of jour­nal­ists at the Ru­pert Mur­doch-owned Wall Street Jour­nal have mounted an at­tack on their news­pa­per’s opin­ion pages, ac­cus­ing ed­i­tors and con­trib­u­tors of un­der­min­ing read­ers’ trust with mis­in­for­ma­tion and ba­sic er­rors on top­ics in­clud­ing coro­n­avirus and racism.

In what will be viewed as the lat­est es­ca­la­tion of the so-called cul­ture wars en­gulf­ing Amer­i­can in­sti­tu­tions, about 300 re­porters, ed­i­tors, video jour­nal­ists and tech­ni­cal staff have signed a let­ter to man­agers at par­ent com­pany Dow Jones to de­mand change.

In a copy of the let­ter seen by The

Daily Tele­graph, they ac­cuse the Jour­nal’s opin­ion pages of a “lack of factcheck­ing and trans­parency” and a “dis­re­gard for ev­i­dence”.

The let­ter, due to be sent to Dow Jones chief ex­ec­u­tive Al­mar La­tour yes­ter­day, said: “Many read­ers al­ready can­not tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween re­port­ing and opin­ion. And from those who know of the di­vide, re­porters nonethe­less face ques­tions about the

Jour­nal’s ac­cu­racy and fair­ness be­cause of er­rors pub­lished in opin­ion.”

The sig­na­to­ries sin­gled out an ar­ti­cle by Mike Pence, the US vice-pres­i­dent, head­lined “There isn’t a coro­n­avirus ‘sec­ond wave’ ”, which they said was con­tra­dicted by prior re­port­ing in the

Jour­nal’s own news pages.

A widely read ar­ti­cle head­lined “The myth of sys­temic po­lice racism” pub­lished a week af­ter Ge­orge Floyd was killed, and as Black Lives Mat­ter protests gath­ered mo­men­tum, “pro­pelled mis­in­for­ma­tion”, the let­ter added.

The Jour­nal’s “em­ploy­ees of colour spoke out about the pain this opin­ion piece caused them” af­ter it “drew er­ro­neous con­clu­sions from the un­der­ly­ing data”, Mr La­tour was told.

In their let­ter Jour­nal staff pro­posed a se­ries of changes they said would make the dis­tinc­tion be­tween news and opin­ion clearer, in­clud­ing prom­i­nent la­belling.

The sig­na­to­ries added: “We also pro­pose that WSJ jour­nal­ists should not be rep­ri­manded for writ­ing about er­rors pub­lished in opin­ion.”

The Wall Street Jour­nal did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Al­mar La­tour, chief of Wall Street Jour­nal par­ent com­pany Dow Jones, has been sent a let­ter by an­gry jour­nal­ists at the ti­tle

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