Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Murdoch’

The Times’ paywall has destroyed its brand equity and its circulation

October 8, 2012

Thirty years ago when living in the UK I was a daily purchaser of The Times. Three years ago I was a daily visitor to the The Times website and an occasional purchaser of the newspaper (around 30 copies per year when I was travelling). Then they introduced their hard paywall and I abstained. But withdrawal symptoms did not last too long and I don’t miss them very much – if at all. In fact, the absence of The Times from my daily reading  has had far less impact than I would have imagined. Nowadays it is very rarely that I find any references to articles in The Times that I would like to follow up on. The Times is no longer the paper of record in the UK and its restricted access makes it of little value as a reference for others.

I have a theory that the simplistic introduction of paywalls is not the model which will work for a very complex behavioural change in reading and news gathering and reference habits that is currently evolving. I suspect that the successful models will probably be those that involve an expansion of what can be viewed freely, but where this expanded readership can then be enticed into an increase in the purchase of valuable downloadable content. Restricting the initial readership – I think – can only lead to a collapsing spiral of interest and a destruction of brand value. The total circulation of The Times today for both the online and the paper versions together  is less than the paper circulation before the paywall.

In an article actually about the Bonniers struggling to find their own model, Svenska Dagbladet writes about The Times:

It is well understood that for putting value on journalism it is central to be creative in the development of payment models. However, there are some really bad examples. Worst of all is the newspaper that really listened to Jeanette Bonnier.

End the free reading! Close the store!  If you want to read, you must pay!

Which paper was that then? A certain paper called The Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch / News International. Just over two years ago they introduced a so-called hard pay wall. Not a thing was released over the fence without payment. The decision to completely close the site for open access  – and even to the  search engines, which they were forced to back down from the other week – possibly was by following  Jeanette Bonnier’s intuition. Or was it a way for Murdoch to provoke the industry to act. Either way, it was a gigantic failure.

Before the pay wall The Times Online had 21 million readers each month. Today, they have … drum roll! … 130 000 paying customers. Nowhere else in the history of journalism have so many readers – and so many advertisers – been scared away so effectively.

Even more interesting is the effect on the paper version. Its circulation during the same period fell from 570,000 per day to 397000. It is much more than what other newspapers have lost.

The explanation?

  1. A brand fatally weakened as fewer and fewer read the content, and
  2. Subscribers to the paper version shifting their allegiance to the much cheaper on-line, pay-walled version

The result was fewer subscribers, sharply lower revenues and a significantly depleted brand. And that’s what happens  if you’re looking for simple solutions to handle a complex situation.

I have the strong “guesstimate” and rather more than just a belief, that if The Times had increased their online (free) readership  they could have bucked the trend and even increased their paper circulation – by offering more content in the paper version where such content was also available on-line – but for a fee.

Murdoch swats aside shareholder calls for change

October 22, 2011

As expected the shareholder opposition to Rupert Murdoch and the Board of News Corp proved to be little more than noise and was just brushed aside at News Corp’s AGM held in Los Angeles yesterday. Some of the loudest “opposition” seems to be little more than public relations to justify a continued investment in News Corp and not really intended to effect any change.

Rupert Murdoch and kids


Rupert Murdoch faces opposition – but no real threat – from News Corp minority shareholders

October 14, 2011

Rupert Murdoch and his family members have about 44% of the voting shares in News Corp and his good friend Saudi  Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns the second largest voting block with about 7% and this gives Murdoch effective control over the composition of the Board and all decisions.

But the smaller shareholders who have been grumbling for some time are beginning to get noisy and even showing signs of resistance.

But the minorities are not rolling over. Their biggest gripe is the “rampant nepotism” in the company, and it is here that Murdoch may eventually have to give ground. ….. Even before the (hacking) crisis, small News Corp shareholders had launched a lawsuit against its “rampant nepotism” for paying £415m for Shine, a television production company founded by Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elisabeth.

Reuters reports that at New Corp’s Annual General Meeting in a weeks time, the opposition to Murdoch will be on display:

Rupert Murdoch’s multi-million dollar campaign to win back the hearts and minds of News Corporation’s independent investors suffered a new blow on Friday after another key shareholder group called for his eviction from its board.

Hermes Equity Ownership Services (HEOS), the shareholder advisory service affiliated to Britain’s largest pension fund, issued a rallying cry to investors to vote against all Murdoch family re-elections to the board of the embattled media group at next week’s annual general meeting on October 21. …..

…. The organization, which votes on behalf of the BT Pension Fund and more than 20 other institutional clients running $140 billion of assets, has also called for an independent investigation into the phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of top-selling British tabloid The News of the World….. “The time is right for the company to appoint an independent chairman to rebuild trust, help correct the governance discount, and ensure that the interests of all investors are properly represented,” Jennifer Walmsley, Director of Hermes Equity Ownership Services, said.

Besides seeking the removal of Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan, HEOS — whose members hold 0.5 percent of News Corp’s shares — Hermes is also withholding support for the re-election of directors Arthur Siskind and Andrew Knight, citing concerns for their independence. …… Earlier this week, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) said Murdoch and 10 other News Corp directors should be ousted from board in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, which it said “laid bare a striking lack of stewardship and independence.” 

The ISS statement prompted News Corp, which has bought back more than $1 billion of its stock since August, to step up its appeal for shareholder support with a letter that reiterated its strong financial performance in the face of the flagging global economy.

… “There is a huge problem with shareholder democracy at News Corp — it breaches what we see as a fundamental shareholder right of ‘one share, one vote’,” (Walmsley) said.

But 51% of the voting shares is a clear controlling interest no matter which way you look at it and no matter how loud one may shout for “one share one vote”. It will be difficult to overcome and minority shareholders who are truly upset may have no other option than to vote with their feet. HEOS with its 0.5% can make noise but cannot really do much else. Murdoch is canny enough to make sure that won’t happen. He just needs to ensure they get an attractive return even if the “Murdoch” discount holds back the share value. So my expectation is a lot of noise but no real change. Perhaps James Murdoch will give up one of his Board positions just to placate the noisiest opposition.

Now Murdoch’s WSJ caught in a circulation scam as his European publishing head resigns

October 12, 2011

It’s pretty clear that The Guardian does not much care for Rupert Murdoch or his newspapers but they are involved in so much which is shady that it provides permanent employment for some of The Guardian’s “investigative journalists” (who are not themselves above some hanky panky from time to time).

After the News of the World / News International phone hacking fiasco, this time it is the Wall Street Journal which has been found to have been cooking the books about its circulation figures. Andrew Langhoff  who is Murdoch’s publishing head in Europe has resigned to contain the damge. Executive Learning Partnership, or ELP, a Netherlands-based consulting firm is also implicated.

The Wall Street Journal also carries the story: Publisher of WSJ Europe Resigns After Ethics Inquiry

The Guardian – 

One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation’s flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s true circulation.

The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper’s management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.

…… In what appears to have been a damage limitation exercise following the Guardian’s inquiries, Langhoff resigned on Tuesday, citing only the complaints of unethical interference in editorial coverage. Neither he nor an article published last night in the Wall Street Journal made any reference to the circulation scam nor to the fact that the senior management of Dow Jones in New York failed to act when they were alerted last year.

The affair will add weight to the fears of shareholders in Murdoch’s parent company, NewsCorp, that the business has become a ‘rogue corporation’, operating outside normal rules. Some shareholders have launched a legal action in the US, attacking the Murdoch family after the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World and following lawsuits in which NewsCorp subsidiaries have been accused of hacking into competitors’ computers and stealing their customers. …..


Circulation figures directly affect the advertising rates that can be charged and this circulation scam is nothing more than a method to defraud advertisers and – eventually – all the subscribers. Even the antics at the News of the World can be put down to maintaining circulation numbers. The certainly unethical – and perhaps criminal – behaviour of Murdoch and his henchmen and his newspapers can all be put down to greed, and a touch of narcissism  coupled with highly inflated egos.

Related: Rebekah Brooks and NoW – another new low

Was Tony Blair just doing Murdoch’s bidding on Iraq?

September 5, 2011

Even the distance of history may never reveal all the real reasons for the Iraq War.  That Rupert Murdoch through his media outlets was one of the most strident advocates of the Iraq war because of their (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction was always clear. But quite how close he was to Tony Blair is becoming apparent only now.

The latest revelations – let-slip by Wendi Deng Murdoch in an interview with Vogue – show that Tony Blair was very close indeed to Rupert Murdoch. The claim of Tony Blair being in Murdoch’s pocket is no longer so far-fetched. His just following Murdoch’s orders regarding the Iraq war would also explain Blair’s obduracy in “sexing-up” the Iraq dossier with a bunch of lies and half-truths.

BBC News

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s young children, it has emerged. Mr Blair was present last March when Mr Murdoch’s two daughters by his third wife, Wendi Deng, were baptised. The revelation comes in an interview with Ms Deng in a forthcoming issue of fashion magazine Vogue. Tony Blair’s office declined to comment on the report, which sheds new light on Mr Blair’s ties with the media mogul. Mr Blair, who is said to have been “robed in white” during the ceremony, is the godfather to Grace, the second youngest of Mr Murdoch’s six children.

As The Guardian puts it 

So much falls into place with the revelation that Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters and attended their baptism on the banks of the river Jordan last year. …. Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, who let slip the information in an interview with Vogue, described Blair as one of Rupert’s closest friends. Blair’s account of the relationship in his memoirs is somewhat different, portraying Murdoch as the big bad beast, who won his grudging respect. That is clearly disingenuous. As other memoirs and diaries from the Blair period are published, we see how close Murdoch was to the prime minister and the centre of power when really important decisions, such as the Iraq invasion, were being made.

image :

But bringing this back to what is known about Rupert Murdoch’s views and what was thought to be his staunch support of the neo-conservative cause suggests that Murdoch may have been a leader rather than just a supporter. And in that scenario Murdoch led Tony Blair by the nose into the quagmire of Iraq.

Before the Iraq war Murdoch declared that the war would ensure oil at $20 per barrel which would be the equivalent of a tax cut. The three members of the Coalition of the willing were Australia, the US and the UK — all countries where Murdoch is the most powerful media player. Spain was the tentative fourth member of the Coalition and when Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was defeated in 2004, Rupert showed his loyalty to those who backed the Iraq invasion by promptly installing him on the News Corp board.

After running the unsuccessful Tory campaign in 2004, former federal Liberal Party director Clinton Crosby publicly stated that News International backed one last term for Blair because of his support for the Iraq invasion. John Howard received similar treatment. Some Murdoch papers may have endorsed Kevin Rudd at the 2007 federal poll, but Howard was strongly supported by the Murdoch press in 1998, 2001 and 2004. Besides, News Corp’s Harper Collins book division ended up paying John Howard the biggest six-figure cheque of his career for his memoirs after leaving office.

Rupert Murdoch Profile

Considered a close ally of neoconservative activists, Murdoch has helped bankroll neoconservatism’s more important media outlets, including the William Kristol-edited Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, and Fox News. A sign of Murdoch’s commitment to this rightwing faction’s causes was his willingness to support the Standard in spite of yearly losses in the millions. The magazine is widely credited as a pivotal force in building support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. According to a report by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, “With a circulation of about 65,000 and annual losses estimated from $1 million … to $5 million … the Standard represented only a tiny fraction of Murdoch’s vast media empire.”

Murdoch is frequently criticized for using his media empire to advance his political agenda. During the lead up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example, the editors of Murdoch’s media holdings vociferously supported President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s pro-war campaign. One British newspaper opined: “You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the antiwar tune. Their master’s voice has never been questioned.”

It does begin to seem very plausible – and not just some conspiracy theory – that Rupert Murdoch – and not Bush or Cheney or Blair – was the “deep” force behind the entire Iraq adventure and all the hundreds of thousands killed there. And the price of oil at $80 – 100 in these days is a long way from $20.

David Cameron was “played” by News International

August 23, 2011

David Cameron’s judgement in employing Andy Coulson has already been brought into question. Apparently Coulson was also privy to confidential documents and meetings beyond his security clearance and that he was spared – or protected from – the highest level of security vetting. It has been suggested that his appointment may have been at the behest of Rupert Murdoch or Rebekah Brooks.

It now appears that Andy Coulson was working for two paymasters strengthening the impression that David Cameron was not just a “dupe” but that he was being “played” by News International. Presumably the real objective for News International was the acquisition of BSkyB.

The BBC breaks this story:

Coulson got hundreds of thousands of pounds from News Int

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World who has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in phone hacking and bribing the police, received several hundred thousand pounds from News International after starting work as the Conservative Party’s Director of Communications in July 2007.

These payments were part of his severance package, under what is known as a “compromise agreement”.

According to sources, Mr Coulson’s contractual leaving pay was given to him in instalments until the end of 2007 – which means he continued to be financially linked to News International for several months of his tenure as David Cameron’s main media adviser. ….. Mr Coulson also continued to receive his News International work benefits, such as healthcare, for three years, and he kept his company car. ………

Related: Phone hacking: PM’s defence of Coulson over the years

Phone hacking: One law for the Guardian and another for the News of the World?

August 6, 2011

The list of UK journalists involved in phone hacking just gets longer. After the Mirror it is now the turn of the Guardian.

The Guardian newspaper may have been a major player in exposing the phone hacking scandal in Murdoch’s News of the World, but is not itself free from the cancer. Their investigations executive editor, David Leigh is a self-confessed hacker (5 years ago) but seeks to justify himself because his ends were in the public interest!!

David Leigh obviously considers himself an inherently good guy such that his means are justified by his ends. I am afraid Mr. Leigh’s ethics are a little confused, a little arrogant and not very convincing. The Daily Mail reports that he is to be questioned by the police.

UPDATE! It now seems that David Leigh was probably also involved in some kind of nefarious activity against the anti-global warming community after Climategate. It would seem that police provided him – or the Guardian – with information in contravention of the Data Protection Act. A form of “information laundering” perhaps!! 

Forbes: Jeff Bercovici

Here’s one more irony in a saga that already has plenty of them: The Guardian, the paper most responsible for bringing the phone hacking at News of the World to light, is harboring a confessed phone hacker. That would be investigations executive editor David Leigh, who, in 2006, volunteered that he had used some “questionable methods” to get scoops, including listening to a subject’s voicemail and lying about his identity on phone calls. That admission drew shrugs at the time, but the Guardian’s avidity in pursuing justice for other phone-hackers has given it new relevance. …

Does Leigh’s defense — that what he did was permissible because it was in the public interest and he was transparent about it after the fact — hold water? I put that question to Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute. She thinks it doesn’t.

“The problem with that is he’s suggesting that the ends justify the means,” McBride says. “In most ethical reasoning it doesn’t because it’s a subjective call. For him, it’s exposing bribery and corruption. For somebody else it might be exposing that some pop star lip synchs over his songs.” (That might sound like a big leap of relativism, but think of all the stories that fall somewhere in the middle, like political sex scandals.)

…. Setting aside the lofty realm of ethics, there’s still the practical application of the law to consider. Leigh writes that “there is a public interest defence available under the Data Protection Act” that, in theory at least, protects him from prosecution while enabling the phone-hackers from News of the World to be brought to justice.

Even if that’s the case, McBride says journalists who choose to break the law ought to be prepared to accept the full consequences. That, in itself, is a useful guide for determining whether a story is one of overriding public interest or just a sexy scoop. “If you get 30 days in jail for trespassing, it’s got to be worth going to jail for 30 days,” she says.

Hacking scandal spreads to Mirror and Piers Morgan’s protests ring hollow

August 4, 2011

The UK News of the World hacking scandal is like a cancer across all the tabloids where the spread is only gradually being revealed. It has now enmeshed the Mirror and covers the time when Piers Morgan was the Editor. CNN – his current employer – is revelling in Murdoch’s scandal but is steering well clear of the allegations against Morgan.

The Independent:

Piers Morgan under fire from Heather Mills hacking claim

The former editor of The Mirror, Piers Morgan, was under intense pressure last night after Sir Paul McCartney’s ex-wife came forward to claim a journalist had bragged to her about hacking sensitive messages left on her phone.  

Heather Mills said she received a call from an executive at Mirror Group Newspapers in 2001 “quoting verbatim” voicemails left by the singer after the couple had had a row. Her comments undermine Mr Morgan’s claim that he knew nothing about phone hacking – as the voicemails appear to be the same as those which he later admitting hearing. 

In a 2006 newspaper article, Mr Morgan referred to hearing a recorded message which Sir Paul had left for Ms Mills while she was away in India. He wrote: “At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’ into the answer phone.”

Last night Ms Mills said: “There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about unless they had gone into my voice messages.” However she said the journalist who contacted her was not Mr Morgan. …

Footballer Rio Ferdinand and TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson (also) believe they were hacked by the Mirror group.

Piers Morgan of course is protesting his innocence but his protests ring very hollow. Paul Staines (Guido Fawkes) has more on Piers Morgan’s hacking knowledge and his “insider” share dealings.

A website called has sprung up and claims

Morgan knew about the hacking while he was at the NOTW and that Morgan is named in a Scotland Yard complaint about a U.S. victim of hacking.

CNN is maintaining an uncomfortable silence on Morgan’s many connections to the scandal. It has not mentioned him once in its 100-plus segments on the crisis in Rupert Murdoch’s meda empire. It’s odd because although Morgan has denied he knows anything about phone hacking, he’s probably the best expert CNN could hope to have for commentary on the story. And he’s on the channel every night.

New York Post implicated? Told to preserve emails following UK hacking scandal

July 30, 2011

UPDATE! News International ordered mass deletion of emails nine times

New York Post staff have been told by News Corp. to preserve any documents that may relate to phone hacking or payoffs to officials as the News of the World hacking scandal spreads across Murdoch’s empire. The clear implication is that something illicit has taken place at the New York Post – possibly connected with the victims of 9/11.

A memo to all staff from the legal department was followed by another from the editor Col Allen.

The text of the 2 New York Post memos is here – New York Post Memos

The documents to be retained were defined very broadly as:

“Any documents pertaining to unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials, or that is related in any way to these issues, must be retained.

Please note that the term “documents” should be construed in its broadest sense, including but not limited to: written material, graphs, charts, files, e-mail, text messages, instant messages, any content in social media, voicemail, tape recordings, microfiche, video and film, handwritten notes, draft documents, memoranda, calendars, card files, appointment books, and the like whether in hard copy or on computer databases, hard drives, desk tops, laptops, thumb drives, disks, backup tapes, or any other storage medium, and regardless of whether the document is located on a company-issued or personal device. It also includes all copies of the same document.

The term “related in any way” should also be applied broadly. If you have any doubt whether a document should be preserved, you should err on the side of preserving it.”

Reuters reports:

In another sign that the phone-hacking scandal may implicate or at least taint News Corp.’s U.S. properties, the company’s legal team has asked New York Post employees to “preserve and maintain all documents and information that are related in any way” to phone hacking or bribery.

The email frames the demand as an effort to demonstrate how seriously it is taking the issues of hacking or bribery, improprieties — both confirmed adn alleged — which harpooned News Corp.’s famed British tabloid News of the World.

“Please know we are sending this notice not because any recipient has done anything improper or unlawful,” it reads.

However, the implication is that something illicit may have taken place. It asks that employees retain any documents “to unauthorized retrieval of phone or personal data, to payments for information to government officials, or that is related in any way to these issues.”

One possible reason is that the FBI has begun an inquiry into allegations that News Corp. newspapers hacked the phones of 9/11 victims.

As for what “documents” and “related” mean, the email asks the Post employees apply the terms as broadly as possible.

Post editor Col Allan sent out a memo to his staff regarding the email in which he says this should not be surprising.

“As we watched the news in the U.K. over the last few weeks, we knew that as a News Corporation tabloid, we would be looked at more closely,” he wrote.

Allan added that all employees must cooperate absolutely and that this edict should not endanger one’s ability to protect sources.

The legal team’s email instructed employees to contact Genie Gavenchak with any questions. A phone call to Gavenchak’s office was redirected to Rubenstein Communications. The PR firm did not immediately return a request for comment. 

In related news, the Guardian is reporting that Scotland Yard has opened up another inquiry involving hacking at News of the World, this time via computers.

Murdoch’s News Corp to stop email deletion: A little too little and much too late

July 25, 2011

It has been over 2 weeks since the “s**t hit the fan” at Murdoch’s News International. But it is only now that News Corp has issued a memo to all News International staff to stop deleting their e-mails.

A little too little and much too late.

And why was such an instruction to preserve all potential evidence not issued by the police?

The Independent:

Staff across all of Rupert Murdoch’s News International newspapers have been warned not to delete or destroy documents relating to any of the phone-hacking investigations now under way. In an email sent to employees over the weekend, the company reveals it has suspended all automatic deletion of files and destruction of documents.

The memo shows News Corp’s fears that journalists from its other papers might get sucked into the phone-hacking scandal, given the company’s insistence that it was solely an issue for the News of the World.

The email, sent from News Corp’s new Management and Standards Committee, also raises questions about why such a policy has only just been implemented, given that the company has been aware of the extent of the allegations against it for some time.

“It is very important that all News International employees take immediate steps to preserve and retain all documents that may be relevant to these issues,” it reads. “We apologise that this is necessary but it is an important step the company must take in order to comply with the various investigations.”

The email goes on to warn staff that “all types of electronic and hard copy data or communications, including memoranda, letters, emails, reports, presentations, handwritten notes, tapes and any other recorded information or computer media” are covered by the edict.

It adds: “Please suspend any automatic deletion or discarding of any documents, whether electronic or paper, including emails or drafts of documents… If you are uncertain whether a document is relevant… you should preserve it.”

The company also confirms that its current policy towards the deletion of documents has been suspended. “Given the current circumstances you should be aware that all policies requiring the destruction of such documents or overwriting of any electronic material will be suspended immediately,” it said.

The News of the World newsroom has already been sealed and staff refer to it as a “crime scene”. All News Corp staff will be spoken to in the coming days over the way they deal with emails. News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee is being run on a day-to-day basis by Will Lewis, public-relations man Simon Greenberg and Jeff Palker, general counsel for News Corp Europe and Asia. It is being overseen by Joel Klein, a News Corp director and former legal adviser to the White House.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported concerns about Mr Klein’s role as an independent adjudicator given his close relationship with the Murdochs. He sat behind them when they gave evidence to MPs on Tuesday and was initially hired by the company to push its educational publishing arm.

Lawyers and experts in corporate governance said News Corp should have hired outside legal counsel to oversee the inquiry, rather than use an executive director. “That is not standard practice,” said Charles Elson, an expert on corporate governance at the University of Delaware. “You cannot be seen as objective if you are inside.”

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