“Miracles do happen! Sun shining in London,” Rupert Murdoch tweeted last month, his clever way of referring to the news that The Sun on Sunday was about to hit UK stands, a remarkably prompt replacement for the slayed News of the World.
It just got cloudy.
Yes, James Murdoch has been slated for a move to New York for ages now, but his resignation as executive chairman of News International comes following a fortnight of damning revelations from the ongoing Leveson inquiry.
Commentators are united in their assertion that James is no longer heir in waiting, Michael Wolff refers to him as “the shadow man” and asserts that “no one talks to him”, least of all his father. Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting that shareholders are planning to step up their campaign to oust James Murdoch from News Corp entirely.
Rupert followed up his sunny tweet with this middle finger to the world: “Just for the record: Newscorp shares up 60c on news of Sun on Sunday. Highest for year.”
Newscorp will survive this scandal, but not because its mastheads aren’t damaged: in fact it’s precisely because its future isn’t in mastheads.
Which is lucky, given this astonishing graph of print newspaper advertising revenue, as cited in The Atlantic. Yes, News’ paper stable is primarily based in the UK (with the notable exception of The Wall Street Journal) but this revenue trend is not exclusive to the US (recent Fairfax results, anyone?):
The future of news is not at threat, but on paper, literally, it’s looking even thinner than the ever shrinking classifieds in your local rag. So does it lie instead in “open journalism”? Or more specifically, glossy TV campaigns for “open journalism”, featuring three little pigs? [Insert gratuitous excuse for running The Guardian’s new TV ad campaign because it’s fun to watch.]