The talk of Wall Street: The Journal vs. the New York Post


NEW YORK (AP) - Financial analyst Edouard Morin slid from his lunch seat at the swanky Harry's Cafe around the corner from Wall Street and sized up the latest merger talk that has the business world abuzz. 

"The Journal is an American icon,'' he said.  

But this is Wall Street after all, so he added an important caveat: "Everything is for sale these days, at the right price.'' 

Some on Wall Street said Rupert Murdoch's attempt to buy The Wall Street Journal was a bad idea, while others said it was merely capitalism _ you have to do what's best for the business. 

The Bancroft family, which controls Dow Jones & Co., says it is warming to the idea of selling the company, with Murdoch being the most visible suitor. His media conglomerate, News Corp., includes the New York Post, Fox News, and MySpace. 

The Journal, founded in 1889, has a daily circulation of about 2 million, and is one of the world's most venerable papers. 

A cheeky list of who-reads-what that has made the rounds on the Internet says that The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country. And that the Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country _ as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated. 

But Murdoch has promised that if his company buys the Journal, he would ensure its editorial independence. 

One young man looking to enter the stock market said he doesn't want Murdoch to transfer his brand of tabloid journalism to the Journal. 

"I get all my financial news from the Wall Street Journal,'' said Rhudy Correa, 21, as he sat on the steps of the historic Federal Hall overlooking the New York Stock Exchange _ a quick lunch-hour perch of choice for many Wall Street employees. 

A college student working as a summer intern with Oppenheimer Funds, Correa said he wants the Journal to stay as it is. "I wouldn't advise making changes in it _ that would be kind of touchy.'' 

His friend, Christian Goodspeed, balanced a takeout container of Chinese food in one hand as he dug into it with a fork _ offering his opinion of the Murdoch bid between bites. 

"I go to the Wall Street Journal if I need investment news,'' said Goodspeed, 20, an intern at another Wall Street firm, Stoever Glass & Co. "It's a cornerstone, and it can't change. I wouldn't like that.'' 

Even if Murdoch controlled the Journal, Goodspeed predicted there wouldn't be major changes. 

But at least one person on Wall Street believes the Post has something to teach the stalwart Journal. 

"If Murdoch can do for the Journal what he's done for the Post, he'd be doing a great thing,'' said Bob Dolin, who has worked for 27 years in his family newspaper stand on Wall Street, a few steps from the exchange. 

"The Post has a very good variety of writers, plus sports and interesting articles. The whole format makes it very desirable,'' said Dolin, standing behind a display of Friday's Post, its front page touting a woman allegedly seen with Yankees star Alex Rodriguez _ not his wife. 

Dolin doesn't sell the Journal any more. The truck driver who delivers it refuses to walk the papers from the Wall Street corner where his truck stops to Dolin's stand. 

Every day, the vendor sells about 60 copies of the Post _ mostly to Wall Street employees. If they want to buy a Journal, they must take a few extra steps to the nearby Starbucks. - AP

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