Posts Tagged ‘rupert murdoch’

Steve Jobs: Fox News is a ‘destructive force’ in society

October 27th, 2011

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was released this week and details are emerging about what Jobs thought about his industry and others. The media was a particular area of interest for Jobs, but not always in a good way.

Steve Jobs is all over the media these days, with the official release of his biography spilling dozens of interesting facts about the business visionary.

While Jobs is famous for revolutionizing several industries, from music, to computers to phones and tablets, another deep passion of his was media.

“I would love to help quality journalism,” Jobs told Isaacson in one of dozens of interviews he did for his biography before passing away. “We can’t depend on bloggers for our news. We need real reporting and editorial oversight more than ever. So I’d love to find a way to help people create digital products where they actually can make money.”

Jobs wanted to play a role in how news organizations brought their content to digital platforms, and the iPad was the solution.

According to Poynter, Jobs made friends with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch when the two organizations started working on the iPad-only publicationThe Daily, and Jobs played an active role in helping News Corp. develop the first digital-only publication for the popular tablet.

While Jobs and Murdoch hit it off with that publication, Jobs had harsh words for another News Corp. media property — Fox News. As Jobs and Murdoch got closer, Jobs did not mince words about Fox:

“You’re blowing it with Fox News,” Jobs told Murdoch. “The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society.”

“You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.” Jobs said.

According to Isaacson’s biography, Jobs also believed Murdoch was not really happy with Fox.

“Rupert’s a builder, not a tearer-downer,” Jobs said. “I’ve had some meetings with James, and I think he agrees with me. I can just tell.”

According to Poynter, Murdoch responded to Jobs’ complaints about Fox News by saying, “He’s got sort of a left-wing view on this.”

[Originally published on Digital Journal]

Is Rupert Murdoch’s iPad endorsement a look to the future, or just a sales tactic?

April 14th, 2010

If you’ve been following the hoopla around the Apple iPad, you’ve likely seen two distinct reactions: One is a very positive one that hails the iPad as the Next Big Thing, while the other view is quite critical, saving the gadget is simply an oversized iPod.

While there has been no shortage of news pundits who claim the iPad will revitalize the news industry, I was somewhat surprised to see Rupert Murdoch among them. Murdoch believes the iPad will be the saviour of print media in Australia. While it doesn’t necessarily surprise me Murdoch would recognize an opportunity, his public praise of the iPad comes across as more of a product endorsement than anything.

”I got a glimpse of the future … with the Apple iPad,” Murdoch said to journalist Marvin Kalb. During the interview, Murdoch reportedly sat with an iPad and even demonstrated how to browse through The Wall Street Journal‘s website. ”It is a wonderful thing,” he continued. “If you have [fewer] newspapers and more of these … it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.”

While much of the iPad-related discussion is often accused of being hysteria created by Apple fanboys, an endorsement from the likes of Murdoch sheds a different light on the gadget. Especially when it’s dubbed a “saviour” by someone as prominent as Murdoch.

”We are going to stop people like Google or Microsoft or whoever from taking stories for nothing … there is a law of copyright and they recognise it,” he recently said to a group of students, journalists and other media professionals. ”When they have got nowhere else to go, they will start paying if it is reasonable. No one is going to ask for a lot of money.”

Murdoch’s glowing endorsement of the iPad is a clear indication his news empire will grow inside paywalls, and a gadget that encourages paid access is clearly a favourite for this media mogul.

Of course, not everyone believes the iPad has any chance of saving journalism, especially when it comes to funding large-scale journalism. As this critique notes:

  • Publishers are only saving the cost of printing and trucking printed newspapers (maybe 30 or 40 cents per copy). Other costs of producing large-scale journalism remain the same.
  • Apple will take the place of retail when it comes to commission; Apple gets a cut of app sales, which is essentially the same thing as a corner store or newspaper stand taking a cut of a paper sale. In the end it’s moving money from one source to another, but not changing an industry entirely.
  • Revenues will decline from readers. Citing Australian numbers, media commentator Eric Beecher notes customers who currently pay $12/week for a printed newspaper will pay a fraction of that when buying apps.
  • Finally, revenue from advertisers will fall, as audiences are smaller.How many media consumers will pay for apps when the Internet is open and free? The iPad is Internet-enabled, and comes with a very functional browser, so it’s not always a safe to assume people will flock to apps.

I think there is a lot of value in this criticism. While I do expect to see a successful future for the iPad, I have to disagree that it will be journalism’s saviour.

In the end, I’m taking Murdoch’s endorsement of the iPad as more of a sales tactic than a premonition. After all, he’s selling papers.