Monday, July 02, 2007

MBA degrees for Page 3 gals?

Time magazine's cover story on media mogul Rupert Murdoch's bid for the Wall Street Journal reveals his own viewpoint on what a journalist should be like. Murdoch, in the report,

"...has always said that craving respectability is the beginning of the end for a journalist. 'Journalists should think of themselves as outside the Establishment, and owners can't be too worried about what they're told at their country clubs,' says the man who influences Prime Ministers and Presidents and still poses as a scrappy outsider."

Here's an admission - respectability is what I'm after. I chase after it, turning a blind eye to the need to break stories or what I believe will be half-baked stories. I'm not prolific enough, for fear of filing a report that 'compromises' me. Murdoch's words jolted me, because I realise now that I've often confused respectability for credibility. Credibility is what you get when you're constantly on the field - respectability has nothing to do with it. Just like a journalist needs to have a healthy disregard for all that's fed to him, so must he be wary of being too timid in going after those who've stepped over the line. Do those words resonate in you?

Not that I'm endorsing Murdoch - his reputation for editorial interference precedes him. But perhaps we've been guilty of demonizing him too. Read the entire cover. Before I sign-off, another mischievous quote from him,

'..Murdoch wouldn't be Murdoch if he didn't love sticking it to sanctimonious J-school toffs. "When the Journal gets its Page 3 girls," he jokes late one night, "we'll make sure they have M.B.A.s"...'

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