Murdoch’s UK Papers ‘Seen As Old Man’s Hobby’

A sting in the tail of the latest New York Times (NYSE: NYT) article on Rupert Murdoch. It concludes:

“In the last few years, some employees say, the company’s focus has shifted, and, with James Murdoch in control in London, it has become more corporate and less concerned about the papers.

The legal troubles at The News of the World are very much viewed as having taken place under the aegis not of Rupert but of James Murdoch, who does not share his father’s love for newsprint.

‘Suddenly, it was all Los Angeles and New York; it was all film and satellite and the Internet,’ one former editor said, describing how suddenly the newspapers felt obliged to clamour for attention from the company, lest they be forgotten or sold off.

‘Newspapers were seen as the old man’s hobby.'”

Ouch! Note also some pointers to News Corporation’s problems in a Wall Street Journal article under the bland headline, James Murdoch’s week ahead.

The News Corp-owned paper says Rupert’s son will confront a series of behind-the-scenes battles this week because the phone hacking scandal “has thrown into question… Mr Murdoch’s status as the potential successor to his father.”

It says that Thursday’s BSkyB’s board meeting will provide the strongest signal yet of whether the broadcaster’s directors will continue to support James as chairman.

The WSJ continues: “Then there is the question of what will come next from former executives of News International…”

It refers to the fact that the News of the World’s ex-editor, Colin Myler, and former lawyer, Tom Crone, had questioned James’s statements to the Commons select committee, and that Jon Chapman, New Int’s former director of legal affairs, also claims there were “serious inaccuracies” in the Murdochs’ evidence.

“It’s a far cry from the sigh of relief some at News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). breathed after last week’s parliamentary hearing,” says the article, “when the initial feeling was that nothing had transpired to make matters worse for either Murdoch.”

Citing “people familiar with the matter”, the WSJ says the News Corp board will meet in early August. Though it isn’t expected to make any major decisions related to the scandal at least until then, the situation could change depending on events.

Sources: New York Times/Wall Street Journal

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.