Sorry Is The Hardest Word: Murdoch Issues Apology Ad In UK Newspapers

This is far from closure, but it is possibly a step in the right direction. News Corp.’s CEO, Rupert Murdoch, has issued an apology that will be published as a full-page advertisement in several — but not all — national newspapers this weekend. Pointedly, at least one of the papers is not planning to give profits from the ad away to charity.

You can see a copy of the ad here. The full text runs below this post.

Last week, News Corp decided to donate all the profits from its final issue of News of the World, both from sales and from ads, to charity. It is continuing to do that in its current offer of selling final issue souvenirs via the newspaper’s former website.

But ironically, the letter of apology related to all of these events may end up making others a bit of cash. A spokesperson from the Financial Times, where one of the ads will be running both on Saturday and Monday, says the paper will not be giving away its proceeds. We are reaching out to other newspapers to ask the same question of them, and will update this post as we learn more.

Update: The Independent has replied “No comment.”

Update 2: This from the Guardian, which is running the ad on Saturday and Sunday:

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: “News International responded to our original revelations about phone-hacking in July 2009 by telling MPs that we had ‘deliberately misled’ the British public. It has taken two years of subsequent reporting by the Guardian to force the truth out. We are happy to accept News International’s paid-for advertisements apologising for the reality of what our journalism revealed. The money we receive from News International will be donated to charity.”

Regarding the letter, perhaps the most important part of it is that Rupert Murdoch, who signs it, says the company intends to “take further concrete steps” to resolve the issue: in other words, more to come.

We first reported about the advert this morning, after it was mentioned by James Murdoch in his letter to staff confirming her new successor, Tom Mockridge.

The news of the newspaper apology comes on the same day that Murdoch himself met with the parents of Milly Dowler to apologize for his paper’s actions. Dowler had been kidnapped and eventually found murdered, but when she first went missing it emerged that NOTW journalists had hacked into her voice mail to listen in on messages for her, and even deleted messages to make sure there was room for more. Those actions were not in keeping with the “standards set by his father,” he told them, according to a BBC report.

Yesterday, it emerged that News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). had retained the PR firm of Edelman to help manage the crisis engulfing the company as more revelations emerge of wrongdoing.

The full list of newspapers where the ad will run pointedly does not include some of the tabloids that compete most closely with News of the World. Those include the Mirror, the Star and the Express. The list where the ads will appear:

The Daily Mail
Daily Telegraph
Financial Times
The Guardian
The Independent
The Sun
The Times

The full text:

The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account.

It failed when it came to itself.

We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.

We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected.

We regret not acting faster to sort things out.

I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.