Dick Francis has been one of my favourite crime writers. Several of his books feature seedy journalists who use wire taps to gain information. While I knew that Dick Francis had been a reporter for part of his career (he was racing correspondent for the London Sunday Express for sixteen years), I always thought that his presentation of the seedier side of journalism was a little far fetched. How wrong I was!
I watched the unfolding events at News of the World first with curiosity, then bemusement and finally horror. I have never really thought of News of the World as a newspaper, just a scandal sheet. But what was done in the name of the paper went so far beyond acceptable norms as to beggar imagination.
The sudden decision by the Murdochs' to kill the paper marks a dramatic end to to a relationship that began in 1969 when its acquisition by Rupert Murdoch's launched what would become the global News Corp empire. I provided a snapshot history of the Murdoch empire back in 2006 in Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation - a few dates and linking comments to themes.
As an aside, looking at the News Corp timeline reminded me that News had once acquired Australian publisher Angus & Robertson. I didn't record but should have the ending this year of Angus & Robertson as an entity. The franchises continue, but the once great publisher that began in 1884 has really limped whimpering into the commercial darkness.
News Corp itself may survive News of the World. However, I suspect that the damage from the affair will be permanent and long term.
In another commercial catastrophe, it is hard to see Tiger Airways Australia surviving the decision by CASA to suspend its flying license on safety grounds. Tiger's troubled history and its growing safety problems have been well covered by Ben Sandilands' Plane Talking. It makes depressing reading.
Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis will know that I have real problems with what I see as the growing burden of corporate and other regulation. But if you look at these twp separate cases, you can see why it's so hard to wind this back.