Rupert Murdoch tells journalists: Shape up or risk extinction

Rupert Murdoch is a media genius. He has an instinct for fair and balanced news. Of course,  members of the elite, liberal media (former monopolies) would say he is just a rich conservative who buys up media. I’ve seen the smears against him for the past 25 years. Now his empire includes FOX, the Wall Street Journal and You Tube. 

This is what Mr. Murdoch has to say: 

“It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news-and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened. Today editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren’t satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven’t always responded well when the public calls them to account.”

Mr. Murdoch points out  the media reaction after bloggers debunked a “60 Minutes” report by former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, that President Bush had evaded service during his days in the National Guard.

“Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively. During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. ’60 Minutes,’ he said, was a professional organization with ‘multiple layers of checks and balances.’ By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as ‘a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.’ But eventually it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Mr. Rather and his producer to resign.

“Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone,” he continued. “A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let’s be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves.”

Reported by Charles Cooper of CNET.

Update: Dan Rather now works for Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is under investigation  for insider trading by the federal SEC.

“My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it’s not newspapers that might become obsolete. It’s some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper’s most precious asset: the bond with its readers,” said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp., owners of FOX News.

UPDATE: Dec. 21, 2008

Some 500 managers and nonunion workers at The Seattle Times are being asked to take a week off without pay as financial troubles mount.

This is one of many JOAs that allow two mastheads to remain “independent” while all the marketing, promotion, advertising, publishing and distribution are joined in one economical operation. It is a form of monopoly, exactly what Mr. Murdoch was discussing. 

 

Company spokeswoman Jill Mackie said workers can take the time off in a weeklong chunk or a day at a time between now and February. She declined to say how much money the Times expects to save from the mandatory time-off program.

It’s the latest in a series of dire steps by the company, which has had three rounds of layoffs this year.

“There are very few areas remaining in which we can pursue necessary savings,” wrote Seattle Times Senior Vice President Alayne Fardella in a two-page memo sent to all nonunionized Seattle Times employees Friday.

“It has been and continues to be a long and difficult fight for our survival.”

The memo says the time must be taken off before Feb. 28 because the company needs to achieve cost savings early in the year.

3 thoughts on “Rupert Murdoch tells journalists: Shape up or risk extinction

  1. Incredible post. I couldn’t agree more about what Murdoch has stated. The editors’ and reporters that have alienated their audiences are the people that will pay. Newspapers may survive, but will have to make drastic changes and begin to serve the people and not their own agendas!

  2. “Newspapers are giving content away free on the internet.’ shows just how unaware executive editors are about the real world; and don’t understand business dynamics or how Internet media business models work.

    Just because there isn’t a per-view charge (think copy price), doesn’t mean you’re giving content away. Marketing is the driver of virtually all business in a free society.

    Therein lies the mindset of the elite editors that has to die or be radically changed for newspaper people to understand what’s going on.

    Newspapers have been inflating circulation data for 100 years, it’s a time-honored trade. That’s why there are audit bureaus, and readership surveys.

    The old school is burning down…. falling down…. and run by unimaginative, incapable, AP style hacks. Now the delivery system has changed radically with Amazon’s Kindle.

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