Instead, I think there is a method to Murdoch’s madness, which may help solidify the shaky fortunes of the newspaper business. In addition, I think the merger could be a boon to communications pros, especially advertisers, public relations professionals and – gasp – journalists. Here’s why.
1. Synergy: As Murdoch crafts his strategy for the Journal, he is likely to look for ways to embed its editorial content into his other media properties. Although Murdoch does not like long stories, imagine being able to get varying perspectives on a topic from TV, the Internet, radio and other media at the same time – from one team of stellar reporters. Journalists could collaborate with their peers to enhance stories and go a lot deeper. Deeper, more nuanced coverage is always a good thing.
2. A Bigger News Hole: When media organizations have a bigger news hole to fill public relations pros salivate. They have more opportunities to tout news from their clients. In addition, journalists are more receptive to pitches because they have to deliver more information in less time. PR pros: Murdoch is looking to add several pages of content to the Journal, go to it.
3. Recruiting: Let’s face it, many excellent reporters at the Journal don’t like the fact that Murdoch is buying the paper. Will they bolt? It remains to be seen. However, expect the Washington Post, New York Times and other papers whose reputations are built on hard-hitting investigative reporting to descend like vultures on the Journal’s shell shocked newsroom. One of Murdoch’s first tasks is to prevent talent from fleeing the paper.
4. Fresh Ideas: Everyone knows that the newspaper business is dying. One of my colleagues here at Know More Media lamented the fact that the print edition of the Journal may go the way of the dodo. Well . . . that’s bad for a local paper, but for the Journal it may not matter much. The Journal’s online Website has 900,000 subscribers (I’m one of them). I rely on the paper for my morning dose of news and frankly could not do my job without it. I’m willing to pay for quality and if it’s online, that’s even better. I rarely have time to read the print edition of papers - it just takes too much time. Also, if Murdoch breaks down the subscription firewall millions of people will have access to the Journal's content, which is also a good thing.
Overall, Murdoch seems to understand that the media business needs fresh ideas. If he finds new ways to monetize content and deliver it to more people more power to him. Change ladies and gentlemen is good.