The Reader,
that excellent blog-in-written-form, has done a nice encapsulation of Rupert Murdoch’s much-pored-over speech about the future of the Internet.

His address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors has been variously described as “intelligent and challenging” (Roy Greenslade in The Guardian (UK) and “a real public service” (online American news guru Dan Gilmour). The fact that Murdoch’s detractors as well as his traditional supporters and retainers are praising the speech confirms its seminal nature, says Reader.

The key points of his speech:

1. “We need to realise that the next generation of people accessing news and information, whether from newspapers or any other source, have a different set of expectations about the kind of news they will get, including when and how they will get it, where they will get it from, and who they will get it from.”

2. “What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel. Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.”

3. “What is indisputable is the fact that more and more advertising dollars are going online, and we must be in a position to capture our fair share. The threat of losing print advertising dollars to online media is very real. In fact, it’s already happening, particularly in classifieds.”

4. “I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers … and the data supports this unpleasant truth. Studies show we’re in an odd position: we’re more trusted by the people who aren’t reading us. And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker. According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999 …This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid.”

Says Reader:

This is the speech that’s likely to become the reference point for future understanding of when the “old media” finally “got it.” It’s the speech in which the media’s own self-created god-like figure admitted that the next generation of media consumers won’t be prepared to “a god-like figure from above to tell them what’s important.”

It’s the speech, as The Economist noted, which may go down in history as the one where “the stodgy newspaper business officially woke up to the new realities of the internet age.” It’s the speech which officially flagged the arrival of the internet as a media powerhouse that’s likely to outlive the old-style media powerhouses.

Rupe’s full speech is at:
Rupert’s speech