News Corp Scandal One Year Later: Where Does The Publishing Arm Go From Here?

This time last year, Rupert Murdoch’s UK media empire was thrust into the biggest newspaper scandal in recent memory when police alleged journalists at the News Of The World had hacked into the voice mails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. A year ago today, on July 7th, 2011, Rupert’s son James Murdoch announced the News Of The World would be shut down. Fast-forward 51 weeks, and Rupert is making headlines of a different sort as he announced the split of his global conglomerate News Corp into two companies, effectively fencing off the tainted UK publishing assets – though he contends that was not the motive. While Murdoch will serve as chairman and CEO of the entertainment businesses on one side, with Chase Carey as president and COO, there is no management in place for the publishing side. Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal will be at the forefront of the new operation. But who will run it? And, can the scandal ever become yesterday’s news?

Names floated to take the reins include Tom Mockridge, a longtime News Corp employee who is now chief executive of News Corp’s press arm, News International — a role he took when scandal-stained Rebekah Brooks resigned last year. (Brooks is now facing charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.) A note from Enders Analysis says “we would be surprised” if Mockridge “was not among the key candidates to run the publishing company.” But, Ken Doctor, media analyst for Outsell and Newsonomics, thinks it would make sense if the new chief “came from in or around Dow Jones.” Chief exec of Dow Jones, Lex Fenwick, joined the company from Bloomberg in February and although Doctor tells me “he does seem like a longshot,” it’s worth remembering that “this is all happening in a year. They don’t need to appoint someone for at least nine months. Fenwick has a long track record in the industry. He’s new at Dow Jones and he’s making major changes. If Rupert likes the cut of his jib in 6-9 months,” Fenwick could be the man. (more…)

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