In his first visit to the Wall Street Journal's D.C. bureau, Rupert Murdoch told staffers Friday that he would put more resources into Washington coverage and take on the New York Times, while reassuring them that he is not a "conservative" pushing an agenda in the news pages.
Murdoch's visit came as a complete surprise to most staffers.
Originally, only Journal publisher Robert Thomson had been expected to attend the early evening meeting. Both men were in town to attend the Gridiron Dinner the following night.
But shortly before 6 p.m., word spread in the newsroom that Murdoch was in the building.
For roughly 90 minutes, Murdoch and Thomson spoke to Journal reporters and editors assembled in the paper's conference room, which also doubles as a reading room strewn with sofas and chairs.
At a leisurely pace, Murdoch answered many questions from the group, which included bureau chief John Bussey and executive Washington editor Gerald Seib.
"It was a great meeting," Seib told me by phone Monday, declining to discuss internal specifics. "Everyone left feeling happy."