Rupert Murdoch (Creative Commons image by the World Economic Forum via Wikimedia)
Rupert Murdoch (Creative Commons image by the World Economic Forum via Wikimedia)

Could the current scandals surrounding Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation organisation be a sign that printed newspapers are in their death throes?

Dubious behaviour in a corporation and its management is often a sign of a failing business desperate for revenue. Printed newspapers are a relic of the industrial age and News Corporation seems to be an organisation whose thinking has has not progressed beyond that age.

Another sign of desperation and old-fashioned thinking is the Murdoch plan to charge for access to his news web sites. Other businesses are able to thrive on the Internet without doing this but News Corporation feels that it needs to revert to its old industrial era model in which customers paid for physical newspapers.

It should come as no surprise that a company mired in industrial age thinking is responsible for so much of the irrational and hysterical denial of climate change and support for fossil fuels.

News Corporations major media holdings include many of the leading climate change denial outlets such as Fox Television, The Sun (UK), The Wall Street Journal, and The Australian.

Their disappearance would not only be a boon to honestly informed discussion but a direct benefit to the environment.

About 18 billion old-fasioned print newspapers are sold each year. And it takes the wood of 300 million trees to produce all of that paper. (Of course, only about a third of newsprint is actually “round wood”. Another third is wood chips and the rest is recycled pulp. But the wood chips and pulp could be put to far better use than making newsprint which is discarded within a day.)

And paper is not the only thing that newspapers waste. A huge amount of fossil fuel is used in paper manufacture, printing and moving all of that paper around.about a third of the paper ends up in landfill and ultimately produces methane.

Each person who gets a daily paper consumes three trees a year and produces 250 kilograms of CO2 a year.