News Corporation chairman/ceo Rupert Murdoch has managed to find a 25th hour in his working day.

Like an ailing Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring defiance at a hostile world, the 74-year old Australian-American tycoon on Tuesday returned to his old job as publisher of the New York Post - occupied until last weekend by his defecting elder son Lachlan, who also doubled as NewsCorp's deputy chief operating officer [WAMN: 01-Aug-05].

Insiders say Murdoch paterfamilias' move is merely symbolic and of little operational significance given that the Post represents only a minuscule part in NewsCorp transglobal multimedia empire.

But, says the patriarch's PR representative Howard J Rubenstein: "He loves the paper. When you see him at the Post, he reads the paper end to end, he makes comments, he calls the editors. It's not a surprising transition. It's a great part of his professional life."

No-one is saying whether Rupert also intends to assume other of Lachlan's responsibilities. As deputy chief operating officer, Murdoch minor also helmed NewsCorp's TV, newspaper and book publishing interests.

Even before news of the tycoon's return to the publisher's hotseat, Michael Cooke, editor in chief of the Post's deadly rival - The Daily News, which is slugging it out toe-to-toe with the NewsCorp title - paid an oblique tribute to his foe.

Despite Lachlan's shock departure, said Cooke, he doubted The Post would in any way surrender in its long-running battle. "I don't think it's in Rupert Murdoch's DNA," he saluted.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff