Wall Street Journal Europe Doles Out Cash And Favors To Inflate Circulation Numbers

from the ouch dept

I can’t find it now, but just a few months ago I got into a discussion in our comments with someone who insisted that newspapers or paywalls were always going to be a better place for advertisers because they actually knew who their readers were and could verify and audit that information. I noted that the newspaper industry has a long history of boosting circulation numbers through fraud. In response, I was told that doesn’t happen any more. That seemed laughable. Indeed, reports have now come out that the Wall Street Journal Europe was involved in a complicated scam to massively boost its circulation numbers by giving companies cash to buy copies of the paper at greatly discounted rates. Even worse, it appears that some of the deals involved signed contracts with the WSJ, where they promised positive coverage of one of the organizations that would participate in this scheme:

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channeling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s true circulation.

The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper’s management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Coming on the heels of the voicemail hacking scandal, this is another black eye for Murdoch’s News Corp, but it looks significantly worse, given the generally positive reputation around the Wall Street Journal, when it comes to reporting and editorial ethics.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: news corp

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Wall Street Journal Europe Doles Out Cash And Favors To Inflate Circulation Numbers”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...