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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 08:44 AM ET, 03/01/2012

Media news derivatives: March 1

In case you missed it---Can one organization with a transparent agenda do a fair job of writing a book about another organization that it accuses of having an agenda? That’s the question I am left with after reading Media Matters’ “The Fox Effect.”

Also: It’s tough to write a fresh and newsy big-template story on The Washington Post. Sarah Ellison of Vanity Fair puts her significant reporting and writing energies in that direction. What pops out is a highly readable yet musty look at this newspaper.

Elsewhere:

*James Murdoch, once considered the prohibitive favorite to take over the News Corp. throne, resigned yesterday as executive chairman of News International, the outfit in charge of the British publishing properties that cannot get out of the headlines.

A lot of implications and commentary along those lines:

— A shareholder group is agitating for James Murdoch’s removal from the company’s board.

— Here’s a piece giving a unique Indian angle to the news:

If India’s cricket selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth were involved, he would probably have said that James Murdoch was being ‘rested’. If Sehwag being ‘rested’ is a euphemism for his being dropped for his poor performance, so is James Murdoch’s ‘relinquishing his position’ ‘following his relocation’. James Murdoch has been sacked; this is the nearest to an admission of culpability in the way James Murdoch ran News International’s print businesses, resulting in the closure of News of the World and the adverse image of News Corporation since Hackgate broke. to the news.

— The Economist wonders whether News Corp. will get out of the newspapering business:

It would be hard to get a good price for the tainted News International...and any buyer would probably insist that News Corp indemnify it against the effects of possible future revelations. And if the investigation in Britain finds evidence of bribery, News Corp could face stiff fines in America under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and more heads could roll.
Even if James Murdoch can redeem himself, likely rivals for the top job will include not just his siblings but also [Chief Operating Officer Chase] Carey, widely seen as one of the most competent media executives in America. But he has time yet. And a News Corp without newspapers might be the perfect company for him.

A News Corp. without newspaper would also be perfect for the public.

— The Vancouver Sun prints this graph on the event:

James Murdoch resigned as executive chairman of embattled News International Wednesday. Observers broke into two camps. Some argued it raises new doubts he can succeed his father Rupert as CEO of parent company News Corp., after a phone hacking scandal at the unit he oversaw. But others suggest that his new job, heading television operations at corporate headquarters in New York is Rupert defying doubters by bringing his embattled son closer to the company’s power centre.

— The Daily Beast has this on a possible motive behind James Murdoch’s move: “Says a Westminster source who has been following phone hacking closely for years: ‘Maybe they know there’s worse stuff to come.’”

*Is Gawker too focused on page-view generation? Business Insider asks the site’s top editor, A.J. Daulerio, about that and gets this response:

I don’t want them to ever think that any of their ideas are “too good” or “too involved” or “too expensive” to publish on Gawker. I want them to take risks and be proud of their work here. And I especially don’t want them to think that if the end result doesn’t bring in millions of new visitors that they’ve failed. Most of the time, a writer’s best work doesn’t bring a fire hose of traffic. Traffic is still important, of course, but I just think we can shift the priorities a bit and make the site work for the writer instead of the other way around.

*Huh. Politico analyzes...the winter.

Many Washingtonians are scratching their heads about the winter that wasn’t.
As March came in with a little bit of lamb (highs in the 50s) and a little bit of lion (rain), the fact that trees are blossoming and daffodils are opening has many people wondering what happened to snow and cold.

*Must-listen audio for newspaper-biz junkies:

*Jon Stewart satirizes the cable nets’ coverage of Michigan-Arizona primary night. Not his best stuff ever. There’s a low-hanging fruit element to making fun of networks trying to stitch together several hours of live coverage.

By  |  08:44 AM ET, 03/01/2012

Tags:  washington post, vanity fair, media matters, fox effect, james murdoch, jon stewart

 
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