A requiem for quality journalism 1

Warwick Fairfax meets the press

Warwick Fairfax meets the press

Fairfax Media spiraled into decline as a series of Boards of  Directors misunderstood or just ignored technological changes, as they maneuvered  for perceived political and commercial influence. The cost cutting, centralisation and redundancies which resulted from  this decline, may have saved money but they also squandered the news group’s intangible but critical  advantages. It seemed that the Boards didn’t really know what made Fairfax unique.

More…

Regulate News? 1

conroyHistory’s worst mass murderers have been joined by Australia’s Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, if you believe News Limited‘s big circulation Australian newspaper, the Telegraph.  The Telegraph was reacting to Conroy’s announcement yesterday that the government would legislate to create a Public Interest Media Advocate. More…

The decline of the House of Fairfax Reply

A generation of journalists took their redundancy cheques from Fairfax Media this month. The group is downsizing, abandoning its broadsheet formats and selling off its printing plants, as a result of falls in advertising revenue.

Fairfax was once Australia’s most influential media empire. From the wood paneled fourteenth floor of 235 Jones St, John Fairfax and Sons directed the nation’s highest quality newspapers, a commercial television network and a string of AM radio stations. The Fairfax building brought the commanding mastheads of Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun Herald, the Australian Financial Review and the afternoon newspaper, the Sun under the one roof for the first time. Press historian and journalist, Gavin Souter said news was being produced there even as the building was completed in 1956. More…

Quality journalism and the demise of newspapers. Reply

We took newspapers for granted. They were cheap, mostly informative, often entertaining and available just about everywhere. But they could also be an addictive cultural ritual which gauged the complexity and intellectual vigour of the city where they were based.

They were a mixed bag of delights. More…

News downsizes Reply

News Limited has ditched its traditional newspaper structure to meet the demands of 24/7 multiplatform journalism.

The legacy of a series of takeovers and expansions, News Limited had 19 Divisions, including The Herald and Weekly Times in Melbourne, Queensland Newspapers and Nationwide News in Sydney.
Under the new organisation, management will be reduced to five divisions with multiplatform responsibilities.

News Limited, owned by the US based News Corporation, publishes most of Australia’s major newspapers, including the Herald Sun, the Courier Mail, the Sunday Mail, the Adelaide Advertiser and the Sydney Telegraph. While Rupert Murdoch was one of the first newspaper publishers to warn against the impact of the internet, News Corporation’s attempts to diversify into new media such as My Space, have floundered. Newspapers are now a relatively minor part of international News Corporation operations which are dominated by cable television, satellite services, movies,  and other entertainment.

More…

Fairfax goes tabloid 1

Australia’s leading quality press, Fairfax newspapers,  have taken a big step towards becoming a virtual news group.

Fairfax Media, which published  the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review, today announced the closure of its major printing presses and dumping the traditional broadsheet format, while foreshadowing more than 1900 redundancies.

The impact of today’s announcement reflects the narrow ownership of Australia’s news media. Fairfax may be centred in only Sydney and Melbourne, but it represents a liberal alternative to the dominant Murdoch press and the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More…

“One sided” coverage of media inquiry : Press Council Chair 2

The press coverage of the inquiry into Australian media exemplified what was wrong, Julian Disney, the Chair of the Australian Press Council  said tonight. “It was very one sided,” he said.

Professor Disney was speaking at a forum organised in Sydney by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism to discuss the Finkelstein report. The inquiry recommended a government funded institution to require press accountability.

Julian Disney

Julian Disney

There was insufficient information in the press about what was actually in the report, Disney said. “You had to go online to get a half way decent description of what was in it”.  There was “no significant attempt” by most news papers to get the views of ordinary people.

More…

Journalism abuse : calling MPs rats and child molesters 1

You could expect the Liberal National Party to be angry about MP Peter Slipper ignoring party orders and becoming Speaker of the Australian parliament. His switch was an embarrassment for the aggressive opposition leader, Tony Abbott, who until then, was confident he could force a new election.

News Corp's digitally altered front page


But what of reporters at News Corporation dropping any pretense of objectivity and larding their reportage with  abuse worthy of a shock jock?

This week’s Sunday Mail, a Brisbane based News Corporation paper, carried the story, “How Labor lured Peter Slipper to Speaker’s chair in Federal Parliament” by Renee Viellaris, a senior writer. More…

Who is Alan Knight? : an opinion on News Corporation 1

Error by omission is a frequent fault of journalists trying to balance concise writing against providing all the relevant information.

I am guilty of it myself sometimes.

This month, I was contacted by the Age and asked to write an opinion piece about the contest to secure the contract for the Australia Television Network, Australia’s voice to Asia. I wrote a piece which described the Network, currently managed by the ABC, as “pedestrian” . More…

Technology : Editing before computers 1

Printers ink still runs in  George Richards’ veins.

George came from a family of newspapermen, with a father, Chas, an uncle Len, and a brother, Dick in the trade before him. George was a journalist in Sydney for more than half a century and in his time, he was a sub-editor, a London correspondent,  a Chief of staff, a cadet trainer and editor of Column 8 at  Fairfax newspapers. But George Richards would help change newspapers forever, introducing computer systems which would revolutionise journalism culture. More…