Murdoch makes first visit to WSJ newsroom

NEW YORK Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:17am BST

Rupert Murdoch departs the News Corporation building in New York, July 31, 2007. Murdoch, the world's most high-profile media mogul, stopped by The Wall Street Journal newsroom on Wednesday for the first time since his News Corp. sealed a 2.8 billion pounds deal to buy publisher Dow Jones & Co Inc. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Rupert Murdoch departs the News Corporation building in New York, July 31, 2007. Murdoch, the world's most high-profile media mogul, stopped by The Wall Street Journal newsroom on Wednesday for the first time since his News Corp. sealed a 2.8 billion pounds deal to buy publisher Dow Jones & Co Inc.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch, the world's most high-profile media mogul, stopped by The Wall Street Journal newsroom on Wednesday for the first time since his News Corp. NWSa.N sealed a $5.6 billion (2.8 billion pound) deal to buy publisher Dow Jones & Co DJ.N

He stayed about three hours and met with the Journal's top editors, but did not speak widely to the newsroom, according to newsroom sources.

Murdoch's visit came amid strained contract negotiations, with Dow Jones' labour union seeking to renew the employment contracts for about 2,000 members.

The union has argued with management over the company's health-care and pay raise proposals, calling them inadequate.

The 76-year-old media mogul, the Journal's managing editor Marcus Brauchli and its Money & Investing section editor Nikhil Deogun were seen walking through the newsroom on the 10th floor of the newspaper's New York headquarters.

The aisles were adorned with hundreds of posters put up by union members that read "Show Us The Money" and bore images of Murdoch with an open suitcase filled with cash.

Many newsroom staff also have worried that Murdoch, who waged a months-long campaign to buy Dow Jones, would meddle in the paper's news operations to further his business interests.

Murdoch agreed to form an independent editorial oversight board to assuage critics of his editorial record.

Murdoch, who spawned a global media empire from a pair of Australian newspapers, stopped to chat with several Journal reporters he had personally contacted in August after discovering their plans to leave the company. He was not seen talking to other reporters, newsroom sources said.

He declined to comment on the nature of the meeting when asked by a Reuters reporter upon leaving the building.

Separately, Murdoch sold off about $20.5 million worth of News Corp.'s Class A shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Robert MacMillan and Kenneth Li)

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