Bancrofts Reject Lawyers' WSJ Safeguard Plan: N.Y. Times

The Bancroft family that controls Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones has rejected its own lawyers' draft of a plan to protect the paper's independence as too timid, according to the New York Times.

The proposal drafted by lawyers for the Bancroft family, which is weighing a $5 billion takeover offer by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. , did not go far enough to protect the editorial integrity of the Journal, the Times said.

The rejected proposal would have created a committee with the power to hire and fire the paper's top editors and some control over newsroom budgets.

It also would have put a two-year moratorium on cuts in Dow Jones news staff and would have protected the jobs of current top editors and the publisher at the Journal.

A Bancroft family spokesman, in an e-mail to Reuters, called the Times report "a gross mischaracterization of the process."

The spokesman, Roy Winnick, added, "Bancroft family's advisors and the family members are working together ... to develop a proposed structure that would, if implemented, achieve the family's overarching objective of preserving the editorial independence and integrity of the Journal and its sister publications over the long term."

The draft proposal as it stands now differs substantially from the way it looked a day earlier, Winnick said. No proposal will be sent to News Corp. until family members and their advisors reach a consensus, he said.