Posted on | July 8, 2011 | 2 Comments
One of the most stunning pieces of media news in our times is being followed with another piece of stunning news.
News Corp. announced this week that it is shutting down the 168-year-old News of the World newspaper in an attempt to limit the damage from the publication’s involvement in hacking into citizens’ phones for stories.
There are any number of perspectives as to what it all means. Mine is pretty simple:
Murdoch’s got stones. I will admit (I’m sure to sound and fury) that I admire Murdoch. He’s the smartest, toughest publishing baron of our time, one who, by the way, has a special fondness for print while moving his company aggressively into the digital age (OK, maybe the MySpace wasn’t so bright). Perhaps, his son, James conceived of the end game, but Rupert signed off it without too much hand-wringing.
That news was followed today by a more depressing bit of news: British PM David Cameron, who has personal links to many of the players in this drama, announced an investigation and vowed tougher regulation of the media.
So widespread was the rot, Cameron told an emergency news conference after Murdoch dramatically shut down his best-selling Sunday paper, that only a completely new system of media regulation and a full public inquiry into what went wrong over a decade at News of the World and beyond would meet public demand.
A new system of media regulation. That’s a completely ridiculous and dangerous notion that needs to be smothered in its crib right now. The U.K. already has pretty strict media regulations that obviously did nothing to disabuse certain reporters from their baser instincts. Instead:
- The hacking came to light.
- Investigations are underway.
- People already have gone to jail
- And the guy who owns the offending (and offensive) newspaper just pithed it in one of journalism most historic decisions.
What more do you need?
Oh, right. Cameron needs political cover.
- Dear Trade Press Editors: Get with the Program
- The Future of News (is “pretty clear”)
- Has the advertising free-fall slowed?
- The future of media? Not as bad as you think
- What’s killing newspapers? Newsrooms