The Rise of the Moral Media Mogul


The FT had an interesting piece on the newspaper industry on Saturday. There was “plenty of evidence to support the theory that newsprint will be finished in a generation”, wrote Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, from the “cash-strapped Boston Globe… carrying front page advertising” to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s ongoing slide to closure. Edgecliffe-Johnson also cited the publisher of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times slogging through the bankruptcy courts, and noted that “even Google gave up a two-year attempt to make money from newspaper advertising, which one analyst estimated would shrink by another $10bn by 2012.”

And yet, against this, the rich and powerful still seem to want to own newspapers: “Alexander Lebedev, the KGB spy-turned-tycoon, bought control of London’s Evening Standard a day after Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms magnate, had thrown a $250m lifeline to the New York Times. Alexander Pugachev, the son of a Russian oligarch, stepped in with a bid for France-Soir, a struggling French evening title.”

For the Edgecliffe-Johnson, this trend may yet emerge to be the salvation of the newspaper industry. As he puts it, “The crisis in newspapers has thrown up a novel opportunity for any would-be Citizen Kane: to burnish his reputation not by using his titles to sing his praises or settle scores but by being the non-interfering benefactor credited with saving a beloved news franchise from disaster.”

Are we about to witness the rise of the moral media mogul? It’s a nice thought, but we fear that the likes of Robert Maxwell (pictured) will always be with us.

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Happy times at Spada Towers – this week we learned we have been shortlisted for not one, not two, but three industry awards for our work over 2013/14. We are in the running for two SABRE EMEA Awards – in