Wednesday, April 23, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4, Murdoch declares a newspaper war

Rupert Murdoch, international king of media and new owner of The Wall Street Journal has declared war on The New York Times. Here's a great Newsweek article about the changes he has in mind. The short of it: a shift to more general news coverage and trying to broaden the appeal of the Journal beyond the business reader.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that the managing editor of the Journal just resigned.

I'm no fan of Rupert Murdoch's politics or what he's done to our political discourse with the Faux News Channel, but this guy believes in the contribution print media makes and is willing to invest money in the Journal, a great newspaper, and put it up against the preeminent American newspaper.

Some analysts are suggesting that it's not a good move to change the Journal. I think they will pick up some readers like me who are sick of their thinning local paper but still want a smart daily newspaper. I'm not sure how big a group we are, though.

Meanwhile, the Times had a bad first quarter and people are floating the idea of Michael Bloomberg buying the Times and taking it private. This is an idea whose time has come, by the way. I think at least a few of the major dailies will go private in the next few years to keep them from the kind of cost cutting they've had to endure to survive Wall Street's expectations. The Sulzberger family that has a controlling interest in the Times says it's not for sale.



Kevin L. Richardson said...

Not sure I like the idea of a move in the WSJ. I like it because it's NOT the NYT.

Hopefully they'll keep it as smart as it currently is...but I doubt it.

I like the idea of the big dailies going private. Probably a more sustainable model.

Brian said...

I think it will stay smart. Murdoch doesn't care if he loses money for a while on the Journal. He's going to invest heavily in it. This is why I am warming up to him (did I just type that?!); he cares about the medium and the impact it can have.

And he's not going to treat it like the Post, which is a whole other animal.

Some have suggested the dailies not just going private but becoming nonprofit. Now there's a cool idea - after all the newspaper is a type of public trust, the 4th estate and all that.