Thursday, May 10, 2007

Is Murdoch interested in the NY Times?

Sometimes it's more interesting to note what a newspaper has left out of an article rather than what was included. Such was the case with today's New York Times story about the battle between London's free evening newspapers, London Lite and TheLondonPaper. The story repeated the information posted on this blog April 27th about how the two papers have hired private detectives to spy on each others distributors to catch them dumping papers.

But two conspicious things are missing from this story.

First, there's no mention in the story of the men who control these free dailies. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. publishes The London Paper and Viscount Rothermere's Associated Newspapers prints London Lite. In the U.S., Murdoch is big news -- he controls Fox News Channel, hated by liberals in the media, and the NY Post, whose circulation has just topped the NY Daily News to become the No. 1 paper in America's biggest media market. Murdoch's name only appears in the cutline, not in the body of the story, which is what is read by most people.

Second, there's no mention of the fact that the New York Times Company is in the free daily business, with a 49 percent stake in Boston Metro. Boston Metro is part of Metro International.

We're not sure what to make of these omissions. In a 708-word story, wouldn't there be enough space to mention Murdoch's name once, or mention the NYT's stake in free newspapers?

Murdoch is planning to launch a business news channel in the U.S. this fall and is looking for a print partner -- a name he can use to elevate the stature of his new TV network. He made an offer last week for Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal. So far, that offer has gone nowhere. Wonder if he has a similar offer out there for the NY Times, and that's why they didn't mention him in this piece? Note: This item has been corrected — the original item said Metro International owned Metro in London. However, the owner of Metro in London is owned by Lord Rothermere, same owner as London Lite.