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Posts Tagged ‘News’

NewsCorp abandons BSkyB bid – for now

July 14th, 2011 Comments off

Angela Long is getting punch-drunk with all the big moves in the hacking/Murdoch/BSkyB saga

Jeff Randall, immensely likeable business journalist on Sky News, was as usual giving it large. ‘I’ve seen some pretty big mea culpas in my time, but this is the biggest of them all.’
Randall was speaking last Thursday, after the astonishing news that Rupert Murdoch (for don’t think anyone but he called the shot) was closing The News of the World in the wake of a mounting, disgraceful scandal around mobile-phone hacking.
But now, we have an enormous cherry on the top of that sensational cake, as News Corporation announces it is withdrawing its bid to take over all of BSkyB, and hence have total control of Sky News.
This time last week the resiling from the bid would have had jaws on the floor all over the worlds of commerce and media. Today, it is just a logical step, as the Murdochs and News Corp are on the run from a massive and heartfelt tide of public anger.
Like me, Jeff Randall worked for The Sunday Times some 20 years ago at Fortress Wapping. In those dear distant days, the height of rascally or unethical behaviour by the bad boys at Wapping, The Sun and the NOTW, was the headline ‘Gotcha’ on page one of The Sun when the Argentine battleship the Belgrano was sunk during the Falklands War (with the loss of hundreds of lives).Gotcha p1
Tut tut. But the editor at the time, Kelvin Mackenzie, was hugely proud of the headline and it became iconic, summing up the cheeky disregard for propriety that the British redtops personified. Read more…

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MPs rejoice at lifting yoke of Murdoch

July 13th, 2011 Comments off

Angela Long on the Commons debate about News Corp and BSkyB

The mice are roaring. A subject people is standing up to its oppressor.

There’s all-party agreement in the British parliament, at last out in the open, that the Murdoch press is a Bad Thing. Today [Wednesday 13th] the House of Commons will stand solid behind a motion introduced by Labour leader, Ed Miliband. This motion declares that News Corp is not a fit and proper organisation to have a major role in the journalism enjoyed by the British public.

And there must be more than a few MPs delighted that, at last, they are out from the yoke of Murdoch and News International, of having to curry favour with the newspaper publisher behind sales of around 36 million copies a week, and about 40 million readers.

That’s about two-thirds of the British population, and a lot of people to influence when voting time comes around. ‘”It’s The Sun wot won it,” crowed the tabloid daily back in 1992, when John Major’s Tories unexpectedly won a general election. Tony Blair famously flew halfway around the world (to Queensland, Australia) to lick the boots of Old Man Murdoch in the mid-nineties. And once The Sun declared that Gordon Brown was a busted flush, in a front-page splash, the last prime minister’s days were clearly numbered.

“We have let one man have far too great a sway over our national life,” Labour MP Chris Bryant told Parliament in London last week. “Murdoch is not resident here, does not pay tax here. No other country would allow one man to garner four national newspapers, the second largest broadcaster, a monopoly on sports rights and first-view movies.”

Great days indeed, for the role of the media in keeping politicians and the system honest. Read more…

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News of the World bites the dust in which many would say it lived

July 7th, 2011 Comments off

By Angela Long
Earthquake at Wapping: 200 victims, but the fiery redheaded leader scrambles to well-remunerated safety….

The baby, the old saying goes, can sometimes be thrown out with the bathwater. But in today’s stunning news about the closure of the News of the World newspaper after168 years’ publication, it seems the bathwater has been let out to leave 200 staff high and dry while the woman (baby) widely seen as responsible is saved.

‘Gobsmacked’, ‘amazed’, ‘astonished’ were the words used by seasoned media watchers and journalists, many who pride themselves on not being surprised by anything.

But as the day wore on it became more likely that the Murdoch empire had been planning this, as a strategy to offset the continuing trials of the phone-hacking scandal, and close the Sunday paper while beefing up its daily sister to seven-day publication.
Read more…

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Can the internet be controlled?

June 9th, 2011 Comments off

Angela Long wonders….WHO controls the net?

Mark Zuckerberg?

Steve Jobs?

Hu Jintao?

The head of eircom’s broadband unit?

Well, the latter is probably the most practical answer. And Nicolas Sarkozy definitely doesn’t. But the diminutive French president has at least raised the issue, something of un elephant in the room of the global web community.

Sarkozy told the e8, a meeting held before the regular G8 meeting in Paris last month, that the internet could not exist in a parallel universe that did not follow the same rules and standards of society as the ‘real world’. His stance symbolizes what internet freedom lobbyists see as a heinous plan by world governments, big business and the CIA (probably) to command and control our minds and wallets, just like they did back before the World Wide Web.

The conspiracy theorists are right to be worried; but is it pie in the sky to believe that a great accessory which everyone uses, is easy and cheap, and has limitless capacity, is going to escape some sort of restriction or regulation?

The whole question represents an uncomfortable marriage of philosophy and commerce.

Read more…

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Bin Laden and the twit-o-sphere

May 6th, 2011 Comments off

He was a guy who used digital technology to chilling effect, as do many of his followers. So it was apt, and inevitable, that the first news of Osama Bin Laden’s death came via Twitter, with associates of senior people around the Administration (past and present) blurting out the news.
But, after the first shock and awe, people turned to the established and respected news organisations. As some indication of this, see this page from Columbia Journalism Review online www.cjr.org. One typical response to the survey was from Dalla Abbas: “I saw the news on my facebook newsfeed. Not trusting this as a reliable source, I turned on BBC news to find out that the post had been legitimate.”
When there’s big news, big media is still needed.
The division of what used to be one lumpen mass of news is steadily taking shape. The fissure is developing between ‘breaking news’ – what we used to call ‘I saws’ in the business – and the verification, explanation and analysis that comes on its heels, but needs people who know what they are talking about, and, please deity, who can write.
A major mistake would be for established media to lose its head and become convinced that it has to become the ‘I saw’ on all occasions. This has been happening to an extent, and is one of the reason for the wholesale dumping of sub-editors. Subs are the people who professionalise the copy. See what’s happening in Australia, for example. link to Crikey.com
News professsionals cannot be first at the scene of every story – especially when the US government, for example, is trying to keep it quiet. But the ongoing responsibility of journalists and serious news organisations is to try to be on the ball when it comes to bringing clarity and understanding to the communities they serve.

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