Over the years I’ve read an awful lot of things about the future of newspapers in a digital age… and I mean an AWFUL lot.
Every so often though, someone utters a nugget that chimes so clearly with me that it lodges in my brain and becomes part of the structure of my own arguments and thoughts on the topic.
I realised today that two examples of these are from Rupert Murdoch.
“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 news organization’s most important asset is the trust it has with its readers – a bond that reflects the readers’ confidence that editors are looking out for their needs and interests.”
— Rupert Murdoch Before the Federal Trade Commission’s Workshop: ”From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” [PDF]
December 1, 2009
“What I worry about much more is our ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands. As I said earlier, what is required is a complete transformation of the way we think about our product. Unfortunately, however, I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers. Too often, the question we ask is “Do we have the story? rather than “Does anyone want the story?”
— Speech by Rupert Murdoch to the American Society of Newspaper Editors
April 13, 2005
“It’s not newspapers that might become obsolete. It’s some of the editors, reporters and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper’s most precious asset: the bond with its readers.”
I have been catching up with an ABC Boyer Lecture given by Rupert Murdoch in November last year (thanks to Dilyan for the recommendation and link).
In it Rupert about his career in newspapers, gives his take on the Wapping dispute, The Times compact, plans for the WSJ and the loss of newspaper power in the face of the internet:
Some other interesting quotes:
“Instead of finding stories that are relevant to their readers’ lives, papers run stories reflecting their own interests. Instead of writing for their audience, they are writing for their fellow journalists. And instead of commissioning stories that will gain them readers, some editors commission stories whose sole purpose is the quest for a prize.”
“I do not claim to have all the answers. Given the realities of modern technology, this very radio address can be sliced and digitally diced. It can be accessed in a day or a month or a decade. And I can rightly be held to account in perpetuity for the points on which I am proven wrong—as well as mocked for my inability to see just how much more different the world had become.”
There is also a full transcript.