Again, this post comes from Shelf Awareness.

At a time when book coverage is gradually disappearing from newspapers nationwide, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal plans to launch a weekly book review within the next few weeks. The New York Observer reported that the publication is “a pull-out section that will be inserted in one of the newly created sections for the Weekend Journal… It is unclear how many pages will be dedicated to the new book review, but one source said it will be ‘significant,’ though it’s uncertain if that means it will surpass the Times‘ usual 20-plus pages for its weekly Sunday Book Review, or if it will be in the same ballpark.”

Robert Messenger, a former editor at the Weekly Standard and theAtlantic, and one of the founding editors of the New York Sun, “will be in charge of the weekly book review section and will also oversee theJournal‘s daily book reviews for the web and for the paper. Erich Eichman, who has been the books editor at the Journal since 1994, will now report to Mr. Messenger,” the Observer wrote, adding that the book review will be inserted in a new section edited by recent Journal hire Gary Rosen, a former editor at Commentary and, most recently, the chief external affairs officer at the John Templeton Foundation.

The Observer concluded that Murdoch, “who is taking on the Times in New York, has chosen his next battle ground.”

Forbes blogger Michael Noerr wrote that “Murdoch hates the NYT so much that his quest to destroy it has been described as ‘Ahab-like’ and he certainly has the coin to finance his hunt for the, er, gray whale. The majority of the changes at the WSJ over the past three years (Murdoch bought the paper in the summer of 2007) can only be understood in terms of positioning the paper as a NYT-killer. Why else a new Metro section focused on New York City, or the beefed up editorial staffing at foreign bureaus? The Times books coverage is world-renowned. Of course Rupert is going to attack it. All of which is great news for book lovers everywhere.”

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Maralyn D. Hill, President
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists

Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”