Short-term scandal or beginning of the end for news industry?
The sensational story along with its gritty details unraveling daily are indeed intriguing. Yet, I’m also interested to see how this whole debacle affects the global media landscape moving forwards.
The media – whether tabloid or broadsheet, public or private – has a responsibility to the public to provide accurate, unbiased reporting. However, how media goes about seeking out this information is a whole other deliberation. It’s an opinion clearly shared by the majority but phone hacking and police bribery is totally unacceptable as a means to claim the best scoop. For that reason alone, I’m glad that the fat cats at News Corp. are being held publically and criminally accountable for their alleged actions. Murdoch himself summed this up to his employees by saying, “The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed to when it came to itself.”
Public outcry has been met with some of the top bods stepping down or being arrested, which is satisfying for many in the short-term. The longer-term implications are still up in the air but I suspect there will be some other editors shifting more nervously in their seats. Whether this adds to the overall decline of the newspaper industry, serves only as a controversial and political story for the U.K., or does indeed make editors become more cautious in their approach, is yet to be seen. How News Corp. and the industry recovers, declines or benefits from this will be very telling.
It all comes at a time when newspapers are desperate to increase advertising revenues, readerships and convince people to continue reading their news in print and not solely online. The News of the World scandal therefore serves as a stark reminder that, however hungry they are for this, media can’t compromise themselves morally or ethically. As consumers, we need to be able to invest our faith in the media to be transparent and honest with us. If they don’t, as Murdoch and Brooks are discovering, there may be severe consequences.