It seems that two months after Rupert Murdoch pulled the plug on the UK’s News of the World publication, he’s looking to launch a new online and mobile only service dedicated to sports and showbiz.
As the Guardian reports today, 21 jobs have been advertised internally at News International for what has been described as a “digital journalism company”. It’s thought that there will be 19 editorial positions, with 7 covering showbiz, 7 in sport, 3 in multimedia and 2 in production.
News International is News Corporation’s UK publishing service, and there has been a notable void in the Sunday tabloid market since Rupert Murdoch killed the flagship News of the World Sunday publication back in July. The plug was pulled on the 168-year old newspaper following a series of phone-hacking allegations, with missing teenager Milly Dowler’s mobile phone allegedly accessed by private investigators back in 2002. For many, including Rupert Murdoch it would seem, the widespread condemnation following these revelations meant there was no way back for the publication.
With its competitors eager to claim some of News of the World’s customers, it seems that Murdoch is now seeking to relaunch a new service that could be an attempt to gain traction in the celebrity news market, with the Daily Mail’s Mail Online service one of the world’s highest traffic news portals.
It’s thought that News International’s Chief Executive, Tom Mockridge, told staff that the company was launching a new digital business that would lead to these 21 new jobs. Whilst the service will be online only, it’s also understood that the smartphone and tablet market will be high on the agenda for the new service too.
News Corporation is still under the spotlight following the phone-hacking allegations, and both Rupert and James Murdoch faced MPs’ questions back in July, with Rupert commenting “This is the most humble day in my life”. We also produced a who’s who of the phone-hacking fiasco, and it’s still far from blown over with a number of former employees being drawn into the affair.
It’s not clear yet what exact format Murdoch’s new online publication will take, or even when it will launch, but you would maybe have to question whether it’s a bit too soon given that there are still a number of investigations going on, and with News International’s long-term reputation still very much on the line.