WSJ Europe publisher resigns after reports he ‘personally pressured’ journalists into covering paper’s business partner
Bloomberg News | The Wall Street Journal
Bloomberg's Edmund Lee reports that Andrew Langhoff, publisher of Wall Street Journal Europe, has resigned over what Lee called "a possible perception of impropriety" related to a deal between its circulation department and a company called Executive Learning Partnership, a Netherlands-based consulting firm. "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 an email obtained by Bloomberg News.
The Wall Street Journal Europe had a deal with Executive Learning Partnership to sell it discounted papers in bulk for distribution to students and others, according to The Wall Street Journal. The contract "included language suggesting ELP could receive some coverage in the pages of The Wall Street Journal Europe," and a Dow Jones investigation "showed that Mr. Langhoff personally pressured two reporters into writing articles featuring ELP."
The Wall Street Journal Europe said in a statement that it had posted a "reader clarification" on two Wall Street Journal Europe Special Report articles that appeared in print and online.
One of those articles, published in October 2010, focused on a study that Executive Learning Partnership did about companies' use of social media. An editor's note on that story now says:
This article was written in connection with a now-expired agreement between the Circulation Department of The Wall Street Journal Europe and Executive Learning Partnership that wasn't disclosed to readers. The impetus for writing the article was the agreement, but the reporting and writing were solely the responsibility of the News Department with no input or review prior to publication by the Circulation Department or ELP. However, any action that creates an impression that news coverage can be influenced by commercial interests is a breach of the ethical standards of Dow Jones & Co.
In touting that story, Executive Learning Partnership wrote, "Research we have been doing recently together with The Wall Street Journal Europe’s Future Leadership Institute on what we call 'The Connected Company' was used as the basis of an article in the WSJE issue of October 14th, 2010."
The two companies co-hosted a roundtable on female business leadership on March 16 featuring Ann De Jaeger, a partner at Executive Learning Partnership. Two days before, the Journal published an interview with De Jaeger suggesting that companies with female leaders do better financially. Executive Learning Partnership also featured that story, which now carries an editor's note.
Executive Learning Partnership also hosted two sessions at something called the Wall Street Journal Europe’s Future Leadership Summit.