The Crazy Cousins Thank Gordon Crovitz
One of the nice things about having a blog is that I can mouth off on just about anything I want and include whatever I want too (such as, for example, shamelessly making videos of my kids in a fruitless attempt to try to cajole Yahoo’s Jerry Yang into having lunch with me).
Today, that means being able to give credit where credit is surely due. In this case, being able to thank L. Gordon Crovitz (pictured here), the outgoing publisher of The Wall Street Journal, for all he has done for both Walt Mossberg and me and all he has done for our little Dow Jones enterprises–this Web site, AllThingsD.com and our annual conference, D: All Things Digital.
Today, with the change in leadership due to the purchase of Dow Jones by News Corp., it was announced that Crovitz is leaving the company as a manager next week, although he will apparently be writing a column on media. He had run the company’s consumer media group, including the flagship Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com, Barron’s and Barron’s Online, MarketWatch and the other properties.
And also its most outlying outpost, AllThingsD.com and our D conference.
Simply put, without Crovitz’s unstinting support, along with that of former Managing Editor Paul Steiger and a few others, we would never have been able to mount this clearly entrepreneurial effort within the confines of a traditional media company.
While the image of a mainstream media mandarin is a mutated creature–kind of a slow-moving turtle combined with a very shy ostrich whose head resides permanently in the sand–Crovitz was the key executive at Dow Jones who made it possible for us to push forward unusual new things like the conference and the site.
We had started the successful conference before he got the job as publisher, but Crovitz always backed us as we wanted to try new things. And he did not blink when we brought the idea of a separately run Web site to him, related to it.
Our pitch wasn’t exactly smooth or even appealing–we told him to think of us like we were the “crazy cousins” at Dow Jones, trying all sorts of new experiments in online media and without a committee of bureaucrats to muck up the process.
Still, Crovitz said yes and yes again, over and over. This is no small thing, especially against a backdrop of a mainstream-media world beset by frightening change. But Crovitz embraced and welcomed that digital shift.
More importantly, he–and we are in his debt for this–fully understood the need for change in all its forms, as long as we adhered to what makes Dow Jones great–high standards and ethics and great reporting.
Now the man who started his career at Dow Jones in 1980 as a summer intern writing editorials for The Wall Street Journal–he won a Gerald Loeb Award for business commentary in 1990–will head on out, to be replaced by a News Corp. exec and Times of London editor Robert Thomson (Bob! Bobby! Call! Write! We’re not that crazy!).
So, for all you have done for us, Gordon, Walt and I thank you and wish you well on your next endeavor. (And, if you really want to help us more, write a blog for us and make it snappy!)