If journalism needs to be saved, is Rupert Murdoch the right person to save it? In an op-ed piece in his own Wall Street Journal earlier this week, Murdoch presented his formula for the salvation of modern journalism:

“… media companies need to give people the news they want. I can’t tell you how many papers I have visited where they have a wall of journalism prizes — and a rapidly declining circulation. This tells me the editors are producing news for themselves — instead of news that is relevant to their customers”.

A prescription, in other words, for giving the audience “what they want”, regardless. For salient examples of Mr Murdoch’s “news that is relevant to customers” go here or here or here.

Rupert Murdoch’s campaign to “save” journalism and make people pay for it online poses a dilemma that was well captured earlier this week by Brian Lowry on Variety.com:

Murdoch’s posture puts journalists in a difficult bind. Because nobody has tackled the how-to-survive online question, you have to root for him to succeed and maybe even bring Google to its knees. If he does succeed, though, one fears we’re all going to be working for a variation of TMZ … In other words, even if Murdoch helps “save” journalism, he may kill what’s worth saving about it in the process.

Quite.

Peter Fray

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