The Great Debate UK

from Reuters Investigates:

The end of an era for British tabloids?

No sooner had our special report today on British tabloids hit the wire than Rupert Murdoch's News Corp shocked everybody by announcing it would close down the 168-year-old News of the World.

Steven Barnett, professor of communications at London's Westminster University, spoke for a lot of people when he said of the news: "Astonishing. I'm completely gobsmacked. Talk about a nuclear option."

The big question now is what happens to Rebekah Brooks, a close confidant of Rupert Murdoch and a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron. Her editorship of the News of the World a decade ago is at the heart of some of the gravest accusations about phone-hacking at the paper.

Our story by Mark Hosenball and Kate Holton asks what makes British tabloids tick -- and what makes them different from newspapers in other countries.

In defence of the BBC

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cathcart- Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University and was specialist adviser to the Select Committee inquiry. The opinions expressed are his own.-

One problem with the current debate about the BBC is that it is being held on too low a level, so the result is likely to be needless petty miseries.

from Breakingviews:

Can Murdoch make Chipmunks out of Na’vi?

Rolfe Winkler2.jpgAvatar’s $1 billion in ticket sales may garner all the headlines for News Corp’s Fox, which released the sci-fi spectacle. But the studio’s other holiday film, “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”, may be more valuable to shareholders in Rupert Murdoch’s media group over the long run.

While Avatar packed them in, the latest offering from the world’s most popular singing rodent trio surpassed the quarter-billion dollar mark despite poor reviews and heavy competition. Indeed the Chipmunks demonstrate the importance of franchise value to the movie business.

Should major sporting events be reserved for free-to-air TV?

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Steven Barnett-Steven Barnett is professor of communications at the University of Westminster and has written extensively about the Sky deal and cricket for the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. The opinions expressed are his own.-

David Davies’ review panel on UK sport’s “crown jewels” – the list of sporting events which have to be reserved for free-to-air television – has proposed adding significantly to the existing list of 10 events.

from The Great Debate:

The lucrative business of Obama-bashing

Bernd Debusmann-- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

Four days before Barack Obama was sworn into office, a prominent radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, told his conservative listeners that a major American publication had asked him to write 400 words on his hopes for the Obama presidency.

British broadcasting deserves better than Murdoch attack

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barnett- Steven Barnett is professor of communications at the University of Westminster, and a writer and commentator on broadcasting issues. He is finishing writing a book “Just Wires and Lights? The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism” that will published by Sage in 2010. The opinions expressed are his own. -

I was in the audience for Murdoch senior’s MacTaggart lecture 20 years ago, and was shocked –- as were many others –- by the ignorance and shallowness of his analysis. It wasn’t just the blatant self-interest of promoting his newly launched Sky channels; it was the sheer incomprehension of British television’s achievements in broadcast journalism compared to its manifest failure in the United States. Murdoch senior pretended it was the other way round, a strange distortion of the empirical evidence.

from The Great Debate:

Pay a small toll to read this news story

ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

There is nothing like the threat of a hanging to concentrate the mind.

The newspaper industry is in a collective panic over its future. The debate centers on the thorny issue of how publishers might find some way, any way, to make online readers to pay for what they read.

The fear is that the newspaper business model has suffered a mortal wound from the collapse of advertising that once funded it, and which has only accelerated in the current economic environment. Or perhaps it's the realization that younger generations reared on digital media will never settle down to buy print.

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