Wall Street Manna

An irreverent look at Wall Street

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Murdoch increases the WSJ subscription price for the White House

It looks like Rupert Murdoch has finally figured out a way to make the White House pay — literally.

The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal has jacked up the rate it charges the administration’s news clipping service by a jaw-dropping $600,000 per year — and is steering the White House towards a direct deal with News Corp., according to an administration official.

“Obviously, we’re not paying $500,000. This is taxpayer money,” the official said. “We have no idea how we’re going to handle this. We may have to drop [The Journal].”

It's unclear how News Corp. arrived at the $600,000 figure. But copyright laws would prevent the news-clipping service from widely disseminating Wall Street Journal articles without the parent company''s permission.

For the past decade, Democratic and Republican administrations alike have paid a small Virginia-based media company $100,000 or more each year to prepare customized packages of excerpts from print, TV, radio and blog outlets. Bulletin News of Reston performs the labor-intensive searches, which would otherwise require the hiring of government staff, every night starting at 9 p.m., delivering a package of article extracts and Web links to the West Wing by 5 a.m. each morning.

The Journal, which sits behind a licensed pay wall, has always been part of the package — until now.