Negroponte Selection to Dow Jones Panel Raises Questions

As a member of the proposed committee to oversee Dow Jones & Co.’s editorial integrity in light of its presumed sale to News Corp., MIT Media Lab visionary and One Laptop Per Child organization founder Nicholas Negroponte has come under scrutiny for his close ties to Rupert Murdoch and his company.

Yesterday, Yankee Group founder Howard Anderson (an Xconomist), who is advising the OLPC, told the Boston Herald that “Rupert and Nicholas have had a strong, strong relationship for years.” The article also pointed out that News Corp. executive vice president Jeremy Philips is a member of the laptop project’s board.

Today’s Wall Street Journal made a bigger deal of the possible conflict, pointing out that News Corp. has donated at least $2 million to OLPC. According to the Journal, the merger document specified that committee members should be those “who, in the sole judgment of the Special Committee, are able to consider and evaluate objectively any issue that comes before the Special Committee and whose judgment is not impaired by any interest in or relationship with the company [News Corp.], Dow Jones, the Murdoch family, the Bancroft family or their respective affiliates.”

Both Dow Jones and News Corp. spokespeople defended Negroponte’s selection, expressing confidence that all members of the committee will make independent judgments, the Journal reported.

Like the Journal, we contacted Negroponte for comment, which he declined to give.

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