Rupert Murdoch says 'sorry' in ad campaign

News Corporation boss admits 'serious wrongdoing' over NoW phone-hacking scandal and apologises in newspaper adverts

Rupert Murdoch has continued to attempt to rebuild his newspaper empire's tarnished reputation by placing a full-page advert in every national newspaper bearing his signature and declaring: "We are sorry."

The advert, signed by the News Corp chairman and chief executive, forms part of what appears to be a more concerted effort to stem the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal, which began on Friday with the resignation of News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks in the morning, and Murdoch paying a penitent visit to the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler in the afternoon.

In the press advert Murdoch says he is sorry for the "serious wrongdoing that occurred" and "for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected … we regret not acting faster to sort things out."

He also raises the prospect of more such communications in the near future: "In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us."

The blanket advertising campaign comes days after News Corp called in the US PR and lobbying firm Edelman to help the embattled company tackle the political pressure and public backlash over revelations of phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World.

Danny Rogers, editor-in-chief of PR Week, said: "It's been a fairly disastrous PR strategy so far. The usual advice on this sort of crisis is that you get all the bad stuff out as early as you can, isolate the problem and begin the rehabilitation. They clearly haven't done that. The longer this drags on the more damaging it is going to be in the long term."

Mark Borkowski, an entertainment PR specialist, said the advert was an old-fashioned tactic in the digital era. "It feels a bit old-school but in some ways underlines that newspaper adverts can still have an effect. It's classic damage limitation mode. Rupert Murdoch's taken charge of the situation and gone back to what he understands best."

Guardian News & Media said: "News International responded to our original revelations about phone hacking in July 2009 by telling MPs that we had 'deliberately misled' the British public. It has taken two years of subsequent reporting by the Guardian to force the truth out.

"We are happy to accept News International's paid-for advertisements apologising for the reality of what our journalism revealed. The money we receive from News International will be donated to charity."


John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

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