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Wall Street Journal names new editor-in-chief

Wall Street Journal names new editor-in-chief
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The Wall Street Journal announced Tuesday that it would name Matt Murray, previously the newspaper's executive editor, as its next editor-in-chief.

Murray will replace Gerard Baker, who held the newspaper's top position for five and a half years, as editor-in-chief for the Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Baker will take on a role as an editor at large at the paper.

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Robert Thomson, chief executive of the Journal's parent company News Corp., told the newspaper in a statement that Baker's new role would allow him to continue writing for the paper while hosting the Journal's network of conferences.

“Gerry has been a very successful editor at a time when journalism has been digitally challenged,” Thomson said of Baker. “In his new role, Gerry, who is a gifted writer and skillful and intelligent interviewer, will continue to make an important contribution to the Journal’s development.”

Thomson went on to praise Baker's replacement, who first joined Dow Jones as a reporter in 1994.

“I know Matt is the right person to take the reins and help us seize the great, new opportunities before us,” said William Lewis, chief executive of Dow Jones. “We see many fruits from our work in embracing digital transformation and a deeper membership model, and there is much yet to do.”

According to a News Corp. release, in addition to writing a regular column in the paper's weekend section and other articles for the paper, Baker will also host a Wall Street Journal "branded news and interview show on Fox Business Network and be a leading voice of the Journal’s rapidly expanding live journalism and events business, conducting interviews with leading figures from business, politics and culture."

Murray will formally transition to his new role on Monday. Baker's retirement as the Journal's top editor comes after he was criticized in March over the newspaper's lack of diversity on staff in a letter also addressed to Murray, then Baker's deputy.

“Diversity in the newsroom is good for business and good for our coverage,” read the letter. "We would like to see the Journal undertake a more comprehensive, intentional and transparent approach to improving it."

Speculation of Baker being replaced as editor-in-chief began last year after internal emails were leaked regarding Baker's criticism of some reporters suggesting they "stick to reporting" and avoid "selective criticism" as it pertains to coverage of President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE 

“Sorry. This is commentary dressed up as news reporting,” Baker wrote in an August 2017 email to a group of Wall Street Journal editors and reporters after reading a draft of a story on a Trump rally in Phoenix at the time.  

In a subsequent email, Baker asked, “Could we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?”

The emails were leaked and published by The New York Times the following day. 

During a February 2017 staff meeting, Baker faced harsh questioning from reporters and editors who thought the paper's coverage of Trump was too soft. He forcefully defended editorial decisions, and suggested those unhappy at the Journal take their talents elsewhere. 

Joe Concha contributed.