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NYTimes Chief Keller: Murdoch's "Cynicism," Steve Jobs' Power

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New York Times executive editor Bill Keller gave a wide-ranging interview with On Point Wednesday on the state of the news business (listen to the audio).

Host Tom Ashbrook asked him about his competitors, and Keller was candid, saying that Rupert Murdoch had introduced a "level of cynicism into the public debate" through Fox News.

He also said, perhaps only half-jokingly, that "we may all be working for Steve Jobs some day."

Here are some edited interview excerpts:

ASHBROOK: What do you think of the imprint of Rupert Murdoch since he’s gotten so deep into the American news business? What’s the effect, the Murdoch effect...?

KELLER: ...I don’t know what his impact will be via the Wall Street Journal. That’s still an evolving publication. His major impact in American media, I think, has been Fox News — again you have to not count his movie studios which is where the money comes from. You know “Avatar” probably made more money than all of his other properties put together. His main impact on American public life I would say is Fox News and that impact has been to introduce a level of cynicism into the public debate, I believe.


KELLER: I see the birth of the iPad as an extremely good sign for journalism, for serious journalism – both newspapers and magazines. I mean I have an iPad. I already have an array of news sites, apps, and magazine apps, and I really like the ability to read in depth on a platform like that. I also still read print. I’m kind of an omnivorous news consumer, but I think the more options you offer people for getting beyond the headlines into the depth of the news, the better for us.

ASHBROOK: You think you’re gonna work for Apple?

KELLER: [LAUGHS] I don’t know, we may all be working for Steve Jobs some day.

-Staff intern Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin contributed to this post.

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