Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Journalism and Freedom
Government assistance is a greater threat to the press than any new technology.
By RUPERT MURDOCH | DECEMBER 8, 2009, 3:47 A.M. ET | Wall Street Journal
We are at a time when many news enterprises are shutting down or scaling back. No doubt you will hear some tell you that journalism is in dire shape, and the triumph of digital is to blame.
My message is just the opposite. The future of journalism is more promising than ever—limited only by editors and producers unwilling to fight for their readers and viewers, or government using its heavy hand either to overregulate or subsidize us.
From the beginning, newspapers have prospered for one reason: the trust that comes from representing their readers' interests and giving them the news that's important to them. That means covering the communities where they live, exposing government or business corruption, and standing up to the rich and powerful.
Technology now allows us to do this on a much greater scale. That means we have the means to reach billions of people who until now have had no honest or independent sources of the information they need to rise in society, hold their governments accountable, and pursue their needs and dreams.
Does this mean we are all going to succeed? Of course not. Some newspapers and news organizations will not adapt to the digital realities of our day—and they will fail. We should not blame technology for these failures. The future of journalism belongs to the bold, and the companies that prosper will be those that find new and better ways to meet the needs of their viewers, listeners, and readers.