Murdoch Exec Resigns Amid WSJ Circulation Questions

One company was promised positive articles for buying up papers: Guardian
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2011 2:02 AM CDT
Murdoch Exec Resigns Amid WSJ Circulation Questions
Copies of the European edition of the Wall Street Journal lie on a street in London.   (AP Photo/ John R Moore)

(Newser) – A top executive in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has quit after questions were raised about possible manipulation of circulation figures of the Wall Street Journal's Europe edition. Andrew Langhoff resigned as publishing chief of Dow Jones & Co. after the Guardian reported that the newspaper had devised a scheme allowing European companies to secretly buy thousands of copies at bargain rates. In a written agreement one company reportedly agreed to buy copies in exchange for positive articles. The arrangement was reportedly orchestrated in London and focused on the Journal's European edition, which is distributed in the EU, Russia, and Africa.

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A Wall Street Journal article announcing the resignation said Langhoff quit following an "internal investigation into two articles in the Wall Street Journal Europe that featured a company with a contractual link to the paper's circulation department." Because the agreement "could leave the impression that news coverage can be influenced by commercial relationships, as publisher with executive oversight, I believe that my resignation is now the most honorable course," Langhoff wrote. In the circulation arrangement revealed in the Guardian, the Journal's Europe edition printed the names of companies that sponsored student seminars. In exchange they purchased up to 41% of the daily European editions for as little as 1-5 cents. (Read more Andrew Langhoff stories.)

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