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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Murdoch Lays Some Straight Talk On The Nation's Newspaper Editors About Survival

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch laid on some straight talk to the assembled members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). I suspect he won few fans with this statement, especially the concluding sentence:

"What I worry about much more is our ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands of the digital native. I said earlier, what is required is a complete transformation of the way we think about our product and the Internet itself.
"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?”
"And the data support this unpleasant truth. Studies show we’re in an odd position: We’re more trusted by the people who aren’t reading us. And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker.

"According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Perhaps this reflects their personal politics and personal prejudices more than anything else, but it is disturbing.
"This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid. ...
"Newspapers whose employees look down on their readers can have no hope of ever succeeding as a business."


That is also a polite way of telling the newsroom leadership of the MSM that the attitudes expressed by them and their staffs are a root cause of their loss of readers in the past decade. Like Pogo used to say: "We have seen the enemy and he is us."

BuzzMachine has lots more from Murdoch's speech. Enjoy!