Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Murdoch's scandal is a newspapers scandal

I could just turn this blog over to Rupert Murdoch coverage, and it would be wonderfully exciting, varied, and both thoughtful and frivolous at the same time.

"But I won't do that." (Meat Loaf on "Bat Out of Hell 2"; also at Summerfest a couple of weeks ago). Besides, it would be too easy. Instead, I continue to pick and poke at the many, many stories about the apparently well-earned troubles of Murdoch these days.

However, I do want to recommend Richard Cohen of the Washington Post today. Cohen points out -- correctly, I think -- that Murdoch's influence is because of his newspapers. "Newspapers pack a wallop that no other medium has." Cohen says that it was the newspapers that elected Margaret Thatcher and other British leaders, Rudy Giuliani and George Petaki in New York, and the Guardian and other British newspapers implies that he hand-picked current British Prime Minister David Camerion.

He writes that newspapers aren't Murdoch's money-makers, but they are the source of his power. We should think about that a bit (so should advertisers, who, ultimately, want power). It's newspaper. Not TV. Not the media. Newspapers.

Virtually instant e-books ofters publishers another venue

One area of journalism that is often overlooked is the importance of real long-form storytelling -- books. Like all other aspects of media these days, digital publishing opportunities is changing that form as well, not only in the regrettable loss of physical booksellers like Borders, but in the actual publishing.

A report by Jeff Sonderman on the Poynter Institute website points to some examples of virtually instant e-books as a publishing venture. It's easy and, most important, e-books can be created quickly for significant stories on which a publisher has sufficient content.

This is another example of using the technology, not letting technology use us.