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.

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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…

Etiquette for Journalists Reply

Never throw up on the Chief of Staff’s trousers.

That’s the advice of veteran journalist and historian, Gavin Souter.

Souter joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1947 after seeking a cadetship for more than a year. He began work in the old Herald HQ in Hunter Street ; an ornate Victorian building where “Rags” Henderson, the General Manager had his own executive lift, to carry him one floor to his wood  and marble paneled offices. 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…

Technology : Outsourced editing 2


Networks of outsourced sub-editors, linked by computers, could  edit most newspapers , according to Bruce Davidson, the CEO of Australian Associated Press (AAP).

In 1991, Davidson was a founder of Pagemasters,  now a subsidiary of AAP.  Pagemasters operations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK provided complete design, editing and production services for a range of metropolitan, regional and community newspapers and weekly and monthly magazines. It specialised in administering content online and on digital platforms.

It was this service which allowed Fairfax newspapers to outsource much of its sub-editing.

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