WSJ Editor Sends Ethics Memo to Staff in Wake of Scandal

Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Co. and managing editor of the Journal, lauds his paper while reminding staff of need to follow the rules

The editor-in-chief of Dow Jones & Co. sent a memo to his staff members on Friday in which he stated that they must hold themselves to “higher standards of probity than other news organizations.”

Robert Thomson, who is also the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, wrote that “in light of recent events in London” he felt obligated to re-emphasize the company’s journalistic principles.

Though no one at the Journal has been accused of the phone hacking that took down fellow News Corp. paper the News of the World, Dow Jones’ former CEO Les Hinton resigned from his position because he oversaw the World while much of the hacking took place.

Read more about the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal here

Earlier this week, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) called on the Dow special committee to investigate the hiring of Hinton, as well as whether any current or former executives had knowledge of or played a role in the phone hacking perpetrated by employees of News of the World.

The extent of the hacking at News of the World — and rumors of hacking at other News Corp. publications — has spurred questions about standards at the company’s U.S. properties.

Also Read: Senators Call for Dow Jones Inquiry

Thomson’s memo makes clear that he thinks such talk is ludicrous.

“By almost any measure, we have the most successful newspaper in the U.S. and, arguably, the world, an exponentially expanding digital presence, and a peerless team of journalists passionate about ethics and hungry for more success,” he wrote.

However, he did remind his staff that there is a confidential hotline one can call if they have any concern about practices, noting “It is important that all editors take responsibility for reporters in their care and that all reporters take care.”