A special feature in the NT News on Tuesday , September 13 , l960 , explained the significance of the Murdoch takeover. It included a photo of Rupert Murdoch, 29 , right. An editorial MURDOCH HERALDS NEW PRESS ERA IN THE NORTH said the son of the famous newspaperman, Sir Keith Murdoch , had visited the Territory many times .
From these visits grew the awareness of the need for private investment and expansion in the interests of Australia as well as the North itself.
The new tabloid paper would soon be a tri-weekly with a sporting edition to come out early Saturday. It also stated that Murdoch’s personal assistant , Ken May, who had been the Adelaide News political roundsman , was expected in Darwin in a few weeks to coincide with the visit of Mr and Mrs Murdoch who would be driving across from Townsville . The Murdochs arrived in Darwin a day earlier than expected and it was suggested that Rupert may have disconnected the speed governor on a hire car and put his foot down .
Bowditch said the quick trip made a favourable impression on him and the NT News staff . On another occasion , Murdoch arrived , possibly from Mt Isa, and Bowditch asked compositor Bobby Wills to drive a hire car to the Fannie Bay Hotel where Murdoch’s party was staying. Wills delivered the car to the hotel and Bowditch introduced him to Murdoch. Murdoch told Wills: “ You can now say you shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of President John F. Kennedy.”
Bowditch said that in those early days Murdoch was seen as something of a rebel and at the time was taking on the larger media empires in Australia. Furthermore, when he had been at Oxford University Murdoch had been what Bowditch described as a "lefty " and went on to say he was regarded by some as " the great white hope” in Australia.
In the special book printed by the Herald and Weekly Times as a tribute to Sir Keith after his death , it included the following passage which gave an insight into his attitude to young journalists and their political views :
As long as they served him loyally in their office work, Murdoch was tolerant of the political views of his staff. He admired independence of thought. Any set of convictions , even if misplaced, were better than no strongly held convictions. Enthusiasm ,if even sometimes misdirected, was its own virtue .
In the era of between war cynicism which culminated in Munich, the leftist proclivities of many of Murdoch’s young men caused a raising of eyebrows among Murdoch’s financial acquaintances. Murdoch stuck to his tolerance. He was heard more than once to joke that any young man ought to be a socialist , at least until the age of 25.
Later, he reckoned, his rebels would tend towards a more balanced view of the world, and perhaps the world would tend a little their way, too. In his own politics Murdoch was a revolutionary conservative. This is evident in his published writings, but even more so in confidential commentaries he wrote about his own newspapers…
Bowditch opined that Murdoch eventually changed once he had borrowed so much money to expand his empire. It will be shown that Murdoch strongly supported Bowditch in his fearless campaigns, even when he became personally involved , flouted the law and took dangerous risks. NEXT : Hectic life under the new regime .