A FAILING FAIRFAX STOPS WORK 'TIL MONDAY
... hmmm, that should help
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.
When I began work for the Sydney Morning Herald I was asked not to bother writing but submit multiple pencil roughs of cartoon ideas and the editorial management would select one. This of course led to my work being the subject of censorship by omission. I was not to be trusted to produce balanced material. I would have balanced my work to appeal to the readership anyway, as I have always done, because it’s the readership who pays the wages.
So when Rupert Murdoch offered me a contract that paid three times what Fairfax were paying I didn’t need too much convincing to shift to the other side of the railway tracks.
Many people criticise Murdoch but my experience was that he was a true newspaperman with integrity who always kept his word, he had exceptional judgment and a deep love that still lives for “The Australian”.
I was given as much space as I needed during the week and a full page on Saturdays to fill with whatever I wanted. I never suffered editorial interference and you simply don’t shit on that sort of trust... something Fairfax was incapable of understanding.
The SMH was a Sydney icon but when the 14th floor decided to go “compact” (read tabloid) rather than broadsheet to save a few bucks, the newspaper degenerated to tabloid news content. Now the Fairfax papers all share the same news except for their TV guides, sport and weather.
The Financial Review was always a tabloid format but it maintained the quality of a serious broadsheet and my only drinking buddies worked for the Fin Review. So, what really went wrong with Fairfax icons like The Age and the SMH?
Well, primarily it’s economy based where a surfeit of internet news prevails which can be accepted or discarded as readers wish. Classifieds collapsed, which meant the main source of revenue disappeared but mainly Fairfax was an organisation that preferred to stay true to its Left ideals at all costs. And there were plenty of costs and plenty of Left ideals.
The Australian has never made money and it never will, but it has never exchanged honest reporting for profitability. Murdoch never sought to change editorial content in the pursuit of balance, he simply changed the journalists. The Australian will not fold until he dies.
Fairfax journalists I avoided have taken to writing scurrilous lies about me in return for my attacks on their beloved Julia Gillard. I have not given them the pleasure of responding.
I always hoped Singo would buy Fairfax and let me edit the SMH... I would not advise him to buy it now 'tho.
It’s sad to see the demise of Fairfax but, as with all media companies, the loss of editorial integrity is the first nail in the coffin.
... it’s still awfully sad to witness the demise of newspapers I once proudly delivered to PM Robert Menzies on my wonky bike.