KIDS LEARN THE ROPES, BUT DAD'S GOING STRONG

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Rupert Murdoch spent June 7 attending his oldest son's graduation from Princeton University. Then he did what any proud father would do- shipped his son 10,000 miles away.

Lachlan Murdoch, 22, is returning to Australia to work at News Corp.'s newspaper operations. Mr. Murdoch said his son is joining the family business "straight away. He's been spending every vacation as an apprentice printer in Australia or journalist in London, that sort of thing."

At 63, Mr. Murdoch has shown no desire to give up control of the empire he's been building since inheriting one newspaper from his father 41 years ago. But when the time comes, he wants his children to carry on the family tradition.

"I certainly hope they'll have the opportunity," Mr. Murdoch said. "They're going to have to show their abilities first."

Mr. Murdoch and his second wife, novelist Anna, have three children: Elisabeth, 25; Lachlan; and James, 21. The Murdoch family owns 32% of the company.

Elisabeth spent several years as a programming executive in Los Angeles for Fox. She and husband, Elkin Pianim, recently left to form E.P. Communications, a Santa Monica company that then acquired two California TV stations-both NBC affiliates.

James, a student at Harvard University, has also spent vacations working for News Corp.

The offspring may have ample time to hone their skills. Mr. Murdoch still works 100-hour weeks and said he has given no thought to ceding control and spending his days on his 148-foot sailboat, Morning Glory.

"They'll carry me out of here feet first," he chuckled.

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