WASHINGTON — A special committee set up to ensure the editorial integrity of The Wall Street Journal following its 2007 purchase by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Monday it found no evidence of wrongdoing at the newspaper.
But the five-person committee did say that the Journal was "slower than it should have been at the outset to pursue" the phone-hacking scandal story which led to the abrupt closure of News Corp.'s British tabloid News of the World.
It also said the Journal "could have done a better job with a recent story allowing Mr. Murdoch to get his side of the story on the record without tougher questioning."
"In our opinion, though it is doing much better now with aggressive coverage, fitting placement in the paper, and unflinching headlines," the committee said in an article published online at WSJ.com.
"Since its inception, the committee has repeatedly reached out to a broad range of staff and management at (Journal publisher) Dow Jones," it said. "We have reviewed ethics procedures and enforcement standards.
"We have talked with former employees. We have reviewed the journalistic offerings of the newspaper. We have asked again and again: 'Is anybody putting political, ideological or commercial pressure on you to influence your news judgment?'"
"The broad and consistent answer we get is 'no,'" the committee said. "To be sure, the Journal has changed in focus, style and content since coming under News Corp. ownership.
"But in our view the long-established reputation of Dow Jones as a highly trusted source of news and commentary endures," it said.
"We have found nothing to even hint that the sort of misdeeds alleged in London have somehow crept into Dow Jones," it said.
The members of the special committee include Louis Boccardi, the former president and chief executive of the Associated Press news agency, and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab.