Rupert Murdoch on the Future of Print: ‘It’s the Editors Who Might Become Obsolete’

rmgurl.jpgWishful thinking (he did after all cough up a whole lot of dough for the WSJ not that long ago, you may recall) or does Rupert Murdoch actually know what he’s talking about? (We sort of suspect he does,) Rupe spoke to the future of print at a recent lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation, and boy is he not gentle:

My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: 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.

It gets better!

It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news — and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened. Today editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren’t satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven’t always responded well when the public calls them to account.

Murdoch said newspapers can still count on circulation gains “if papers provide readers with news they can trust.” He added they will also need to embrace technology advances like RSS feeds and targeted e-mails. The challenge, according to Murdoch, will be to “use a newspaper’s brand while allowing readers to personalize the news for themselves-and then deliver it in the ways that they want.”

“The newspaper, or a very close electronic cousin, will always be around. It may not be thrown on your front doorstep the way it is today. But the thud it makes as it lands will continue to echo around society and the world,”