Am I Stealing from Rupert Murdoch?


Full disclosure: I wrote for Dow Jones & Co. earlier this decade, including the firm’s award-winning 2001 annual report that recounted the Herculean effort of Wall Street Journal staff to publish the newspaper the morning of 9/12, after its editorial offices had been decimated.

So I have lingering affections for the DJ team, despite all the management shortcomings that ultimately led to Rupert Murdoch’s buy-out of the company two years ago.

Back in April, I decided (with a smidge of remorse) to cancel my charter online subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, saving myself nearly $180 a year.

At first, I accessed stories that interested me through Columbia University’s online library. But then I discovered this far easier method via SiliconAlley.com, which essentially makes all WSJ content free.

So am I clever or a crook? And what does it mean when the industry’s most successful pay-for-content online service leaves a back door open the size of a newspaper delivery truck?

One answer, unfortunately: I won’t be responding to an e-mail I received today to renew my WSJ subscription at a “very special” rate, creating one more irksome problem for the crumpling newspaper industry to solve.