Rupert Murdoch (1931- ) is one of the most powerful media tycoons of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His maintains vast holdings across the media spectrum—including television, radio, newspapers, movies, book publishing, magazines, and the internet. Born in Australia, Murdoch studied at Oxford and acquired his first newspaper, the Adelaide News, at the age of 22, after the death of his father. His major American media holdings now include The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the New York Post.
Murdoch has drawn upon the great media entrepreneurs of the past in building his empire. Like James Gordon Bennett, he has made the sensational coverage of crime, sex, and scandal a central part of his publishing and broadcast formula. Like William Randolph Hearst, he has achieved new production efficiencies through the construction of huge media conglomerates. And like both Bennett and Hearst, he has approached the changing media landscape, including the expansion of the internet, as an arena of opportunity. His English tabloid, The Sun, maintains one of the most successful internet news sites in the United Kingdom. In 2005, Murdoch's News Corp. also purchased MySpace, which was at the time the largest social-networking website in the United States. His 2007 purchase of The Wall Street Journal, one of the most tradition-bound newspapers in the United States, may open a new era in American journalism.