Why J.K. Rowling would be a good newspaper owner

New Statesman

The "Harry Potter" series author could do a lot for Britain's less fortunate by grabbing the megaphone a national newspaper provides, Jonn Elledge argues:

What socially conscious journalism needs, then, is a benefactor: a wealthy left-winger who's willing to step in and support it, not because they think it’ll make them any money but because they want to help shape the debate. By buying one of the more poisonous tabloids, this person could refashion its message about, oh I don’t know, single mothers and benefit claimants, perhaps? It’s not going to fix anything overnight, or possibly ever, but it should at least create a space for politicians to say that poverty is not just a symptom of moral deficiency.

Elledge misses one important point: Rowling already invented a newspaper that anticipated Internet journalism: The Daily Prophet, the No. 1 newspaper in the world she created in the "Potter" books. The Prophet -- which has already reportedly attracted interest from Rupert Murdoch -- has never pretended to be unbiased, and while not exactly accurate, it's reacted to events in Potterworld with unflinching speed. More important, though, the paper has been printing the wizard equivalent of animated GIFs for hundreds of years, soundly beating major media companies to this form of illustration.

Gif via dumbledemort

Another reason Rowling may make a good newspaper owner? She may not worry about losing money.

Related: Why rich people are investing in newspapers, again

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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