Rupert says journalists forsaking their own
There are predictions of rough times ahead for the publishing industry, but it seems Rupert Murdoch believes the profession may still have a bright future, if it can get rid of reporters and editors who have ignored their readers.
“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,” says Murdoch, in remarks made as part of a lecture series sponsored by the ABC.
Murdoch, whose company News Corporation owns MySpace and The Wall Street Journal, criticised what he sees as a culture of “complacency and condescension” in newsrooms.
The 77-year-old, recalling a long career in newspapers that began with The Adelaide News in 1952, asserts the profession has failed to creatively respond to changes wrought by technology.
“It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news and what was not… 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.”
These comments from Murdoch come at a time when the media landscape looks increasingly bleak for print-based and online news organizations.
A recent report by US research company, Goldman Sachs, predicts that advertising pressure will continue because of the declines in the auto and financial industries. Online outlets are also feeling the impact.
Despite these potential blemishes, however, Murdoch believes newspapers can still count on circulation gains “if papers provide readers with news they can trust.” He adds that they will also need to embrace technology advances like RSS feeds and targeted e-mails.
“The newspaper, or a very close electronic cousin, will always be around. It may not be thrown on your front doorstep the way it is today. But the thud it makes as it lands will continue to echo around society and the world.”