Murdoch Blames Journalists for Talking-Down Newspapers' Future

25 November 2008

SYDNEY: Misguided journalists, who are too busy "writing their own obituaries to embrace change", were blamed by Rupert Murdoch for the widespread belief that the world's newspapers are about to emulate Monty Python's parrot.

Interviewed on ABC Radio International in the land of his birth, the naturalized US citizen lectured his fellow-Aussies on the future of newspapers, declaring that these will reach "new heights in the 21st century".

This, of course, would depend on their doing things the Murdoch way, with proprietors, editors and journalists undergoing a Damascene conversion to the cult of cyber-change.

This Luddite trinity, opined the chieftain of Clan Murdoch, forget that a newspaper's most precious asset is its bond with its readers.

"If you discuss the future with newspapermen, you will find that too many think that our business is only physical newspapers. I like the look and feel of newsprint as much as anyone. But our real business isn't printing on dead trees. It's giving our readers great journalism and great judgment."

In thrall to his vision of an all-electronic publishing universe, the mogul evangelized: "It's true that in the coming decades, the printed versions of some newspapers will lose circulation.

But if papers provide readers with news they can trust, we'll see gains in circulation – on our web pages, through our RSS feeds, in emails delivering customised news and advertising, to mobile phones."

Hallelujah! Or, perhaps, Amen?

Data sourced from M&M Global; additional content by WARC staff