Skip to comments.Murdoch to media: You dug yourself a huge hole [condescension, arrogance, complacency ...]
Posted on 11/17/2008 3:46:07 AM PST by Mike Fieschko
With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of 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," said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation.
Murdoch, whose company's holdings also include MySpace and the Wall Street Journal, criticized what he described as a culture of "complacency and condescension" in some newsrooms.
"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."
The 77-year-old Murdoch, recalling a long career in newspapers that began when his father's death forced him to take over the Adelaide News in 1952, said 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. 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."
To make his point, Murdoch criticized 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."
Murdoch's comments come at a time when the media landscape looks increasingly bleak both for print-based and online news organizations. A recent report by Goldman Sachs predicted that advertising pressure will continue because of the declines in the auto and financial industries. Online outlets are also feeling the impact. On Friday, TheStreet.com shut its San Francisco office
Despite the blemishes, however, Murdoch said newspapers can still count on circulation gains "if papers provide readers with news they can trust." He added they will also need to embrace technology advances like RSS feeds and targeted e-mails. The challenge, according to Murdoch, will be to "use a newspaper's brand while allowing readers to personalize the news for themselves-and then deliver it in the ways that they want."
"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," he said.
Buckhead pinged, as his sterling work is indirectly referenced about halfway down.
Thank you, Mr. Murdoch! You said it much better than I could have.
I’ll see your Buckhead and raise you a TankerKC.
As soon as Circuit City starts the reorganizing they will be forced to cut their advertising in newspapers and thus shrinking the newspaper's revenue even more. I've already noticed car companies have cut their ads down by over half what it was in The Dallas Morning Snooze. There will be more to follow and it only hurts more as Christmas gets closer.
The Drive-by Media tried to put Conservatives out of business but it looks like we'll have the last laugh.
Long odds there.
Not just newspapers but television media as well. They are all so far in the tank for Obama and the democrats they have lost all credibility; and that goes to FNC as well.
The media forfeited any sense of responsibility during this campaign and its campaign to destroy Bush.
They can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned.
My only source for news these days is the internet.
Does that mean a little sit down with Shepard Smith is on its way, Rupe?
Yeah, I think sometimes Shep forgets his public school roots (Ole Miss) and has aspirations of being put on the so called elite media “A List”. Sadly for you Shep, you are and always will be a southern red neck to these people. So, forget about it and come on home...
“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.”
Glad to see a newspaper man see the light. Unfortunatlely, most people in the news business will read that and think ‘I know he’s not talking about me.”
It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news-and what was not.That never changed
We dropped our subscription to the Wall Street Journal over their obnoxious boosterism for illegal aliens.
Investors Business Daily (IBD) is a more honest newspaper, level headed, and actually approves of everyone abiding by the law. How refreshing!
Sounds like he is refering also to the most recent Presidential campaign.
We need to hold the media accountable.
What this story mentions is half the problem.
While The Media has become an Ad and PR Agency for BO and other left-wing Radicals, one of the biggest issues I see is the IGNORING of good news, or articles favorable to our military and Conservatives.
To illustrate, all I have to is point to the Iraq War (NO good News), and Sarah Palin(Hit piece after hit piece)
I’ve always said that without its credibility, all a newspaper has left is absorbency.
We know someone who went from being a radio DJ with a Rolodex to owning a large successful adverting company that did the catalog work for many major companies and had even branched out into TV. In the process, he became a millionaire a few times over. He has always been a liberal, supported Finegold for the donk nomination, segued to zerO early on and, of course, voted for him.
His business is way down. He has cut the amount of space his company leases. He is worried because while in the past, advertising increased in recessions, this time that is not happening. Some companies have taken what ad work they still do in house. Others have hired consultants who initially work with the ad company, but then bring in their friends and take over until the ad company is superfluous.
Business knows that advertising in really bad times can be a waste of money. If the money and consumerism isn’t there, it does no good to advertise more than a minimum.
It isn’t just that the newspapers are losing advertisers. There are really fewer advertisers and fewer mediums for those ads.
If this ad company owner ever wakes up to the point where he can blame the donks for anything, then we may actually have passed a tipping point. I know that he never believed anything could kill his business or effect him. Now, his personal lifestyle is being squeezed between market losses and the consumer slowdown.
His wife is a social worker. She went back to school out of boredom and may now become the major bread winner. However, she will see first hand the results of zerO and the donks on the economy. For now, they both blame W.
Unfortunately, there are some of us who read MSM as a part of our jobs. I hate to beef up their circulation numbers, but depending on what you do for a living....
My first thought was bring back the original FOX NEWS.
(seems like they’ve already adopted the Fairness Doctrine?)
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