As you may know, News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch elected to shut down the 168-year-old News Of The World, the UK’s famous tabloid paper, because of allegations of alleged police bribery and phone hacking, for starters (looks like there’s more news coming).
On this, I contacted Hearst Corporation’s Executive Vice President and Editor-At-Large Phil Bronstein for a video chat about this. Phil’s honest, seasoned, and occasionally edgy take makes for great video. Unfortunately, Phil never got back to me, which I can only tak as him being busy, or not wanting to do the thing at all.
Then, I was informed he was writing his take on the News Of The World scandal and that it would come out this week. Now, it’s out; I’ve read it.
I’m disappointed. And so much so, I figured the time was ripe to pick a friendly fight with Phil, and with the idea that the other side – Bronstein – is not going to respond, but it would make for great content, not to mention an interesting learning experience for all, if he did.
Currently, unless his assignment’s changed, Phil Bronstein has the task of trying to meld new media with journalism standards and practices at Hearst Corporation.
On the face of it, that should call for a constant look forward, not backward. But reading “I remember when” in Phil’s column, made this blogger think that Bronstein longs for a time when technology played a smaller role in media.
It also happened to be a time when newsrooms were known for open racial discrimination.
I’m not trying to imply anything about Phil, who I like and have tremendous respect for, but only serving to remind him, and anyone else, that, first, the past wasn’t perfect, and second, to be successful at media today, you have to listen to the market.
You can’t dictate news to people any more, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing.
The News Of The World scandal had to do with how they got their information, not what Rupert Murdoch elected to focus on. The demise of the News Of The World will not point to the fall of TMZ.com or RadarOnline. The bottom line is that people are voyeurs, and are interested in what other people do, first. It’s the way we’re wired.
What’s important news to you isn’t important news to me. That’s a shock, and a shame, but it’s true. In today’s World, you have to “sell” news and in more ways than one: you have to not only design the presentation of news so that people want to read it, but in a way such that they find it on the web. Then you have to “push” it out, constantly.
That’s a process foreign to many old school journalists, but it’s one they have to learn to survive – or forget it.
It’s a “tech” way, and to this blogger, far more meritocratic than the past culture that Bronstein would seem to favor. It’s a way more open to the expression of talent regardless of color. A way that allows more people to express “the news of the world” from their own point of view.
That’s done every second, using Twitter, text, email, photo-sharing, blogs, and all of the other platforms and devices you know about. It’s a 21st Century mirror of our culture that allows for rapid exchange on the direction of society, as well as decision and action to change it.
The News Of The World isn’t dead, it’s just out of the hands of Rupert Murdoch and the editors of the past, and in the grasp of you and me.
That’s something Phil Bronstein, ever the celebrant of the insurgent, should be happy about.