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Why has Rupert Murdoch only acquired New York papers? 4/23/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Murdoch.

OK, Mr. Murdoch, we get it. We have now noticed that the only newspapers you own in the U.S. are based in the NY area — the NY Post, the Wall Street Journal, soon Long Island’s Newsday, and various local newspapers in the 5 boroughs and nearby suburbs. Within the NY area, your papers appeal to every segmentable newspaper audience there is — the upscale and the downscale, the national and the hyperlocal, general news and business news, the urban and the suburban. Why are you not interested in being in the newspaper business in the nation’s center of power, Washington, DC? Why were you not interested in acquiring the Tribune to compete in the major Chicago and Los Angeles markets? For that matter, why not Peoria?

Since Rupert Murdoch could not be reached for comment (mostly because I don’t have his phone number), let me offer some possibilities. First, he might believe there is business value in controlling the “national conversation” and he needs to wrest it away from the NY Times. Each night the Times coordinates these top stories with the Washington Post — stories which are then slavishly followed by the TV networks, metro dailies, and ultimately local TV stations. Second, he might believe that of the nation’s two biggest news centers, NY generates more of the type of news that consumers want that Modern Journalism elites have denied them. While DC provides government news, NY is a better supplier of news of business, fashion, arts, entertainment, sports — even of the sensational and bizarre. Third, he needs to have leverage over government officials who might envy his power and try to regulate-away his ability to expand. Controlling what the national conversation has to say about them should do the trick. So, start spreading the news — Murdoch wants to be king of the hill, top of the heap. And as for New York — if he can make it there, he’ll make it everywhere.


1. Cole Cooper - 4/23/08

In the words of the old song “First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin” – It could be that Murdoch is simply waiting for the decline of the papers in those markets and make his way in when he can pick them up for pennies on the dollar.

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