I was one of the “twenty-somethings” that was just started their career at the Journal when the sale went down and I had always wondered who would tell this story well. (I’m still waiting for Sarah Ellison’s book!) I was at that meeting when Murdoch first showed up and had to stand on the paper boxes. At the time, I thought, “This is so ridiculous. I hope someday people outside this office know what’s happening right now.”
One thing that didn’t appear though was the conflicted financial situations that a lot of older Journal people found themselves in. Although they may have been concerned about the sale, many of them had been purchasing stock over the years at a cheaper price through this Dow Jones employee program (I can’t remember the name). They were now in the same situation as the Bancrofts (the Dow Jones family owners) and Rich Zannino (the former Dow Jones CEO). The sale was going to change the company, but it would also make them a lot of money individually. The price doubled just at the hint of Murdoch buying the paper, so although some older folks gnash and moan at what later transpired, they didn’t walk away empty-handed. I remember two of my editors, the morning the news broke on CNBC, discussing what their journalistic obligations were in terms of selling their stock, regardless of whether the deal went down or not.