In India, newspapers are sold and bought, changed and transformed, and most times “suspended” or closed down, as if papers are no different from roadside tea stalls. All this goes in the name of “market forces”—buyer wants to sell, seller wants to buy, who are we to ask?
Little do journalists, academics, or readers realise the vital social, economic and cultural role newspapers, even the most reprehensible of them, play in moulding a democracy and shaping people’s thoughts. Result: there is little debate or discussion on the whys and wherefores.
In contrast, The Wall Street Journal is en route to changing hands from the Bancroft family to Rupert Murdoch. And the paper’s journalists, unions, readers are all significantly exercised over the prospects. And this 45-minute podcast, courtesy National Public Radio, is proof.
The WSJ may still end up with Murdoch, but it’s a must-listen discussion to understand what is at stake when a newspaper is bought and sold.
Related link: Why New York Times launched its hatchet job