My father, who never attended college read two publications to which I still subscribe. One was the Wall Street Journal even though the only stocks he ever owned were utility companies. The other was a little known newsletter called The Kiplinger Washington Letter. At the time he read them, both were standalone firms.

For the last ten years,  the Wall Street Journal has been owned by Rupert Murdoch’s New Corp. which owns Fox News, the London Times,  and like half the media in the free world.  I have been concerned about the WSJ ever since, but somehow, to date, it seems that both its news and editorial work has managed to remain independent from its parent company. This is what was “promised” when that merger occurred. There have been complaints by now former employees and negative articles written by competitors, like the U.K. Guardian, but no Congressional committee meetings!

Now, today, in my re-titled The Kiplinger Letter, as a P.S. at the end, next to the fine print, I am told their 99 year, several generation ownership is no more. It was been sold to a U.K. media firm called Dennis Publishing which is owned by a U.K. private equity firm. And in that brief announcement it says “no changes here, same talented staff and the same mission…”. Of course, when I look on line, the last Kiplinger family editor has been replaced but will remain as editor emeritus, which means basically no title or duties.

Why am I upset? After all, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos purchased the family owned Washington Post. And the long-time business magazine, Forbes, owned and run by the Forbes family for three generations was also acquired. In all cases, the world did not end.

I am upset because, like my father, I viewed the four page Kiplinger Letter as very straight forward, well-researched and with limited bias. I have given subscriptions to a number of family, friends and mentees over the years. In a quick read, you could get caught up on where the world was and where things were trending. Now I don’t know.

Fake News in my headline is there not just to get possible new readers but because every time someone is acquired or merged, the press announcement always says the same thing. No changes, everything and everyone will stay on. But this is not the real world And things Always change especially the leadership and eventually the culture.

Is the media world better off with unique and maybe quirky people like the Forbes or Kiplinger families or is it better owned by much bigger corporate owners? As some of you know, I have worked and prospered in both small, private firms and much larger public ones. Give me the private family owners anytime!

And good luck to the small staff of Kiplinger; I do provide references.