UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

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.

from MediaFile:

Rupert Murdoch’s long crusade to make digital news pay

Rupert MurdochOn the first day of one of my journalism classes, the teacher produced a large metal ring with a short rope fastened to it. The ring was made to be installed in a bull's nose, he explained; and the rope – called a lead – let you guide him wherever you wanted. The point was clear, if somewhat condescending: Writing a good lead lets the journalist guide the reader around like cattle.

That illustration was a lot more powerful before the web, during an era when closed media like print newspapers and television limited interactivity and left consumers with no choice but to passively accept the news as presented. It doesn't make sense on the web, where any reader can challenge news content or even become a publisher in a matter of minutes.

from Breakingviews:

Murdoch will have to work to get his way in the UK

During the UK election campaign, Rupert Murdoch's newspapers attacked the Liberal Democrats with headlines like "Lib-Dumb exclusive." It shouldn't therefore come as a complete surprise that Vince Cable, the Lib Dem who is now UK business secretary, has ordered a probe into whether the 12.3 billion pound bid by the media mogul's News Corporation to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting is against the public interest.

Yet while politics may have influenced his decision, Cable has other reasons to probe the deal. Rival UK media groups vociferously oppose it: they fear that, in an online world, the combination of News Corp and BSkyB might kill off other UK newspapers—for example, by bundling Murdoch's newspaper websites with Sky subscriptions.

Will a free market for news media harm impartiality?

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BRITAIN/Business Secretary Peter Mandelson took a subtle dig at the Murdoch News empire this week when he said that some in the commercial sector want to maintain an “iron grip” on pay TV and “to erode the commitment to impartiality — in other words, to fill British airwaves with more Fox-style news.”

“They believe that profit alone should drive the gathering and circulation of news rather than allowing a role for what they call ‘state-sponsored journalism’,” he added, during the second reading of the Digital Economy Britain bill.

from The Great Debate UK:

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

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.

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