'WSJ' requires authors to share book profits

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UNDER A NEW WALL STREET JOURNAL POLICY, AUTHORS SUCH AS Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Golden—whose series of articles on the college admissions process led to his critically acclaimed book, “The Price of Admission”—would have to fork over some of their book proceeds to none other than Rupert Murdoch himself. In a memo sent to the Journal, and cited by the New York Observer, the new book-leave rules will allow the paper to snag some of the proceeds from any reporter's book that uses research done for Journal-assigned stories. Most periodicals whose writers develop book ideas from stories do not require such a fee. Some aspects of the routine—informing editors ahead of time, using the Journal's marketing services for book publicity—are the same, while a new stipulation says the paper will take measures to “protect [its] interest in books based on Journal reporting,” according to the Observer. Journal spokesman Robert Christie confirmed the policy shift, saying that “in some cases,” the Journal would seek a share of the proceeds from a book that “originates with Journal reporting.” He counters that in exchange, the newspaper provides marketing and advertising support for the title. But newsroom employees apparently aren't convinced. Word is the paper could take as much as 10% of proceeds, though Christie denied any pre-established figures.

—Kira Bindrim is a reporter for Crain's New York Business.

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