50 years of good journalism and bad profits
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
In 1964 there was no national daily and we were very close to having a different national broadsheet. Very few knew that Fairfax was secretly planning to take the ‘Canberra Times’ national when Rupert Murdoch beat them to the punch.
No-one thought for a moment that a national paper would ever make money but it was something Rupert was destined to do and, if Fairfax had been first, Australia would have no national newspaper today.
The sixties were the heady days of hot metal, stone subs and proof readers. The logistics of a daily national quality broadsheet were daunting and it’s doubtful an equivocating Fairfax ever had a chance of getting one off the ground.
I recently did an interview with SBS for a program on Rupert Murdoch but unfortunately I refused to characterise him as anything other than the greatest newspaper man Australia has known... SBS didn’t run my interview, they were looking for a different slant.
I had left Fairfax because of a suffocating lack of freedom and managerial incompetence. The Australian was a breath of fresh air. I had as much space as I wanted and, although I was controversial, there was never any interference in what I produced.
While Fairfax wallowed in mediocrity, Rupert Murdoch made his and his father’s dream a reality.
‘The Australian’ will be the last tangible newsprint to be put to bed but it will always survive in another form as long as Rupert lives.
When he dies all bets are off, as they were with Kerry and his father’s iconic and unprofitable ‘The Bulletin’. The digital age must eventually win the news war and the first funeral will be for an ill-fated Fairfax.
‘The Australian’ has led the way in printed news excellence. Fairfax publications have led the tabloid way to decay.
Hats off to ‘The Oz’... I’m proud to have been a small part of you.