13 July, 2011
We have watched the News of The World phone hacking scandal with interest – especially Steve Coogan’s brilliant turn on Friday’s Newsnight, which helped boost the programme’s ratings to the highest they have been this year. The full implications are only just being realised but The Sun and The Times readerships took a hit over the weekend as they were caught up in the mess and News Corp’s BSkyB bid is looking decidedly less likely this week following its referral to the Competition Commission.
All this raises plenty of questions around the future of the media landscape and corporate social responsibility, which are unlikely to be answered in the short term.
A pressing question for charities over the weekend was ‘do you take the money?’ – after Rupert Murdoch announced that the profits from the final newspaper would go to charity. In response to the debate within the sector, the Institute of Fundraising is to publish new advice on accepting donations – I’m sure it will be interesting reading.
Barnardo’s is one of the charities that said yes and thanked the public who had bought the last issue on Sunday. According to Third Sector, The Forces Children’s Trust and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity will also receive equal shares of the issue’s profits, highlighting the benefits the cash would bring to their beneficiaries. The charity Beatbullying declined the offer saying only that is was proud of its past partnership work with the newspaper.
It’s expected that each of the three charities will receive around ?933,000 but many are asking whether it is worth the risk to reputation, even in these tough economic times? Or is it simply a pragmatic move that will help them deliver more services? Figures out this week suggesting that income to charities is down by ?70 million, only makes a moral decision even tougher.