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Now the Details

Media, ethics, and journalism. What works. What doesn't.

Jeffrey Dvorkin

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shock Horror: "News of the World" Shuts Down! "The Sun" Also Rises...

After weeks of media, political and legal attacks on the outrageous and unethical practices of the editors and reporters of the storied London tab, (aka "Screws of the World" for its constant interest in the prurient and the salacious), publisher James Murdoch announced that this Sunday would be the paper's last edition.

Murdoch is of course, the son of media press baron Rupert Murdoch and only the Murdoch family would have the brass to do this, claiming that the N.O.the W. newsroom was out of control (sic).

In a fit of public abasement, the Murdochs have announced that all (rapidly diminishing) advertising revenues from Sunday's paper will go to worthy charities.

However rumors abound that another paper in the Murdoch stable will quickly fill the gap. The daily paper "The Sun" is even now, being prepped to go seven days a week.  Yesterday the name "The Sun on Sunday" was copyrighted and journalists at "News of the World" have been told to get ready to apply for their jobs at the soon to be announced Sunday paper.

At the same time, the British government will announce two commissions of inquiry. One will look at the legal aspects of what the "News of the World" did, with possible criminal charges to follow.

The second commission will look at how well or poorly the British media are at self-regulatory journalism and whether the introduction of independent news ombudsmen will henceforth be a required for all media organizations. Now that would be a commission worth watching.

Meanwhile all eulogies for Murdoch and his empire are premature. He may have overstepped the bounds of decency in this case and his managerial minions are deserving of firing or worse.

But images of Rupert quietly retiring to Australia are highly suspect. Not with an American election just over a year away.

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