The closure of the News of the World has shown in the most graphic way possible the power swap that is occurring between new media and old.
Rupert Murdoch is the quintessential man of old media. His empire began with print and the medium remains the core of his business.
He owns a third of the national press in Britain, including the top selling tabloid The Sun, The Times (the erstwhile paper of record) and, until recently, the best selling and oldest Sunday newspaper in the country.
Murdoch comes from Australia, a land where blunt speaking is a proud tradition, although he gave up his citizenship for business purposes. His media channels leave little doubt about their loyalties, and this certitude is something his audience seems to like. He is a man used to controlling the message.
The problem is that it now seems impossible. Ask yourself this. When it comes to monitoring this story, where is most of your information coming from? Newspapers are hopelessly behind the times; to them the News of the World is still open for business.
TV and radio reported the news as it broke, but who was in front of one at the time? Even online news sources such as this one took an hour to get the word out.
The primary mover of information on this story was Twitter. People share links and information online in a way that is beyond control, and it's making traditional forces that move dialogue in society change in many ways. It is no longer possible to direct the public discourse in traditional ways, it seems, and I wonder whether this has sunk in yet at News Corp.
As a cynical and jaded hack with 20 years in the business, here's how I expected this scandal to go. Everyone in the industry knew that the two sacrificial lambs of the private investigator and the paper's royal correspondent, fired from the paper and later jailed in 2006, were the tip of something bigger.
Nevertheless, I figured that the story would wither and die. No-one wanted to get in Murdoch's way, and the new prime minister was a close friend and riding companion of the embattled News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks. The story would die down because no-one would cover it, and News Corp would complete its purchase of BSkyB.
Too cynical you think? Well, the The Guardian has been doing excellent work in uncovering the hacking scandal, but it's just one newspaper.
As Peter Oborne of The Spectator pointed out, few newspapers are willing to report on a story like this, and it might have died if not for the discovery of the hacking of murder victim Millie Dowler's phone.
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