Murdoch shoots from the lip on WSJ

snipshot_e41fq5c7raj8.jpgTime magazine managed to land an exclusive interview with Rupert Murdoch (maybe it was by promising him the cover and a cover line like “The Last Tycoon”), and — as is typical for the blunt-spoken Australian — he holds nothing back. While some of the reporters for the illustrious Wall Street Journal took some unauthorized time off to protest Murdoch’s acquisition of the paper, the billionaire came out with jewels like this:

— “They’re taking five billion dollars out of me and want to keep control,” Rupert Murdoch was saying into the phone, “in an industry in crisis! They can’t sell their company and still control it — that’s not how it works. I’m sorry!”

— “The price of the Journal,” says Murdoch, “is $60 plus vitriol.”

— “When the Journal gets its Page 3 girls,” he jokes late one night, “we’ll make sure they have M.B.A.s.”

and finally:

— “What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but went global — a great, great newspaper with big, iconic names, outstanding writers, reporters, experts.

And then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you’d make … a little bit of money. Then again, the Journal and the Times make very little money now.”

Classic Murdoch. Kevin Maney says in Portfolio magazine that he hopes Murdoch starts a bidding war for journalists.

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About mathewi

I'm the chief digital writer at the Columbia Journalism Review in New York, and a former writer for Fortune magazine and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

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