The News Tip On Weekend Edition Sunday
6:07 am
Sun October 16, 2011

The News Tip: Hold On To Your Credibility

News Corp. shareholders have their annual meeting Friday, and they have received outside advice to oust the media titan behind the company, Rupert Murdoch, and his son.

Murdoch is still ducking the fallout from a summer-long scandal with his newspapers on the other side of the pond. The scandal claimed the News of the World tabloid, closed down after outrage over phone hacking by its reporters.

News Corp.'s woes continued this week when Andrew Langhoff, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal Europe, resigned after accusations that the paper was involved in a scheme to inflate its circulation numbers.

Langhoff reportedly promised a firm involved in the alleged inflation scheme favorable coverage in the paper's news section. In a statement, the WSJE has said its circulation programs were "fully disclosed and certified," and attributed Langhoff's departure to a "perceived breach of editorial integrity."

If the allegations are true, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish that Langhoff's actions were a shocking, "clear breach of Dow Jones' and the Wall Street Journal's ethics, as well journalistic standards."

Folkenflik offers a lesson to learn from all this: As a news organization, it's tough to restore credibility after it's been badly damaged.

News organizations are inherently human endeavors, Folkenflik says, and as such, there will be missteps and challenges to credibility.

"The question for a news organization is not, 'Are you perfect?'" he says. "The question is, 'How do you deal with it?'"

Transparency is key, Folkenflik says. Instead, News Corp. has initially "come out swinging, attacking its critics." Giving the organization the benefit of the doubt has become much tougher in lieu of the number of times the company has had to retreat from those attacks.

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Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.