Is Paul Steiger Running Coverage of Murdoch Bid?

Today, former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger became part of his own paper’s scoop.

After yesterday’s big meeting between News Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch and Dow Jones C.E.O. Richard Zannino, the Journal reported that Rupert Murdoch “suggested the possibility of nominating [Mr. Steiger] to the board of News Corp., according to a person who was there.”

But the last we heard, Mr. Steiger’s special assignment was to oversee the paper’s coverage of the Dow Jones deal.

Last month, Mr. Steiger—who now holds the position of editor at large—took on that overseer role at the request of current managing editor Marcus Brauchli.

(Speaking of conflicts, it has been reported previously that Mr. Steiger could make $5 million in benefits if the deal goes through before he leaves the paper, which he must do by the end of 2007).

Nevertheless, Mr. Steiger still maintains that role, according to one Journal staffer, who also noted that Mr. Steiger is currently traveling out of the country.

But now, with Mr. Murdoch dangling a News Corp. board seat out there, has Mr. Steiger recused himself from the story?

So far, Mr. Brauchli, Mr. Steiger, and media editor Rich Turner have not returned calls and emails seeking comment. We’ll update accordingly.

UPDATE: Mr. Brauchli emails The Observer: "I don't think Paul has to recuse himself if someone is talking about him, or even if someone is publicly musing about putting him in a job. It's all speculative as of now."