* Questions about relationship with Dutch consultancy
* Gave "impression that news coverage can be influenced"
* Andrew Langhoff became publisher in 2009
By Robert MacMillan and Yinka Adegoke
Oct 11 The publisher of the Wall Street
Journal's European edition quit over ethical issues raised by
the newspaper's relationship with a Dutch consultancy.
The resignation of Andrew Langhoff comes as News Corp, the
paper's parent company, fights accusations of misbehavior in a
UK telephone hacking scandal.
The nature of the relationship was unclear, but News Corp's
Dow Jones unit said on Tuesday that the issue related to two
articles involving the Dutch firm, the Executive Learning
The agreement between the paper and the firm, now expired,
was not disclosed to readers of the articles, the Journal said
in a note attached to the articles on its website.
"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," the note said.
"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," it said.
Langhoff resigned because the publisher "has the ultimate
responsibility for this matter," Dow Jones said in a separate
The Journal, in an article on its website on Tuesday, said
an internal investigation had found that Langhoff personally
pressured two reporters into writing articles featuring ELP.
Dow Jones has been fighting accusations of ethical
violations tied to phone hacking at its News of the World
newspaper in London. Those allegations, which have led to a
number of arrests, have prompted critics to demand the
resignation of Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and
other executives, including his son James.
One of the Wall Street Journal Europe articles, which ran
in October 2010, is called "A New Leaf: Beyond personal use,
businesses are waking up to the possibilities of social media."
The article relies on a poll conducted by ELP and features
interviews with two ELP executives, including Rien van Lent,
identified by the Journal as ELP's chief executive.
FORMER DOW JONES PUBLISHER
ELP's website says van Lent worked for Dow Jones as
publisher of the Wall Street Journal Europe and head of Dow
Jones's European newspaper, Internet and conference activities.
He then joined Amsterdam's Telegraaf Media Group in 2006,
before News Corp bought Dow Jones.
He and another ELP official did not respond to email
messages seeking comment.
Another article, which ran in March 2011,
(r.reuters.com/dyd44s) is headlined "Investing in women:
Men still dominate boardrooms, but more women at the top could
boost returns." The article is a question-and-answer interview
with an ELP partner.
A Dow Jones spokeswoman declined to comment on whether
Langhoff was aware of or blessed the arrangement, when and why
the arrangement ended, or how the ethics issue reached the
attention of Dow Jones and News Corp officials.
Langhoff, who became publisher of WSJ Europe in January
2009, based in London, also was the chief executive of Ottaway,
a Dow Jones unit that publishes several local U.S. newspapers.
He did not return an email message seeking comment.
Dow Jones competes with Thomson Reuters.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan and Yinka Adegoke in New
York. Editing by Richard Chang and Ted Kerr)