Monday, February 23, 2009

Arango & Perez-Pena Publish Big News Corp. Story, But Manage To Miss Big News Corp. Scoop

Today's business section leads with a 1,507-word takeout on the troubles at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., but reporters Tim Arango and Richard Perez-Pena managed to miss the big News Corp. story of the day: this afternoon's surprise departure of News Corp.'s number-two executive, Peter Chernin.

The NYT's media reporters litter their story today with references to top sources within the company, but they somehow failed to ferret out the scoop that appeared first at 1:30 p.m. New York time on Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily blog, and was confirmed at 3:06 p.m. by the Los Angeles Times on its website.

The NYT story focused on the financial drain on News Corp. created by Murdoch's $5 billion purchase of the Wall Street Journal last year, but made no mention at all of Chernin's status -- even though a recent Business Week story had already raised the possibility of a Chernin exit if he couldn't negotiate a new contract.

Remarkably, the NYT didn't post the news of Chernin's exit from News Corp. until some three hours later, and that post -- by Arango -- attributed the news to "a person briefed on the matter who declined to speak publicly because the company had not made a formal announcement."

Wonder how Arango and Perez-Pena explained their failure to get the Chernin scoop to their editors, given that they'd spent much of the previous week interviewing sources with supposed knowledge of the workings of Murdoch's company.

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