Followups: Rebecca Black and Rupert Murdoch on the Fame Clock

A couple of subjects from some of my past blogs have been getting some press lately. The first has been doing some new things, while the second has gotten into some deep trouble.

Let’s start with Rebecca Black, whom I’ve written about twice already in light of her instant success from, as well as the controversies behind, her song “Friday.” Lately, it seems like Black’s fame clock hasn’t quite run out yet. First, she did a quickie cameo appearance in the video of Katy Perry’s hit “Last Friday Night.”

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Now, just as this is being written, Black is about to release a followup to “Friday,” entitled “My Moment,” which she will put up first on YouTube and iTunes, to be followed in August 2011 by a 5-song EP, which she will release herself rather than through a label, so at least she and her mom are already learning to hang on to those master recordings.

Just a few words of advice to Ms. Black, from a layperson’s perspective…just make sure you put together a grassroots tour that would benefit you financially. Options would range from a “mall tour,” like everyone from Tiffany to Selena Gomez has done over the years, with a corporate sponsor to back it; to maybe playing some small auditoriums. I was going to suggest “house concerts,” but I think you’re a bit too popular for those.

While Rebecca Black is getting more time added to her fame clock, Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate whom I wrote about last month for his plans to innovate digital education, is loosing the fame clock. Maybe you’ve known by now that Murdoch had to shut down one of his newspapers in London after charges circulated that the paper’s staff had hacked cellphones of everyone from victims of murder and 9/11/01 terrorism to celebrities and government officials.

But no sooner did Murdoch shut down that newspaper than the situation was compounded by news that one of the other papers he owned in London was also accused of hacking the banking records of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, as well as the medical records of his cystic fibrosis-suffering infant son.

Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch ended up backing off his plans to buy out the 61% of British cable-satellite program service Sky that he doesn’t own, to avoid the British Parliament having to pass a non-binding resolution that would have told him the same thing. Even so, current British Prime Minister David Cameron has set up a Parliamentary inquiry into how Murdoch’s company has done business with British politicians.

And because Murdoch’s recently shut-down “News of the World” was accused of hacking the cellphones of those 9/11/01 families, everyone from Congress to the FBI is investigating those actions, which could, according to FBI head Robert Mueller, result in possible felony charges.

Granted, journalistic cellphone infiltration is quite different from digital education initiatives, but the common thread that somehow links those two is that financial device known as the bottom line, because the stock price of News Corp. has generally declined in light of the hacking charges.

Albert Camus, a mid-20th century French photojournalist, author, and 1957 Nobel Literature Prizewinner, was quoted as saying that “A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad.” As bad as what Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. have done has been in the eyes of many, let’s hope it doesn’t mean the end of this “marketplace of ideas.”

So, with these followups in mind, do you think that [1] Rebecca Black bought herself some more time on her fame clock?, and [2] that the journalistic hack jobs that Rupert Murdoch’s company has been accused of doing would result in a press whose freedom is being questioned?