tip off

Fairfax cuts deep: papers to tabloids, 1900 staff axed

Fairfax Media will slice The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to tabloid-size and sack 1900 staff — including about 380 editorial positions — as part of a massive $235 million cost-cutting drive to save the media giant from corporate oblivion.

In the bombshell revelation delivered via a technically plagued internal staff webcast this morning, CEO Greg Hywood said 20% of the job cuts would come from editorial, 20% from printing and the remainder from other activities. There are currently around 10,000 Fairfax employees.

In an ASX announcement, the company revealed it was turning The Age and The SMH into tabloids — or “compacts” as it describes it — as part of its three-year “Fairfax of the Future” strategy. The first cut-down editions will start in March next year.

Hywood also announced that digital paywalled subscriptions will be introduced to metro masthead websites on a “metered” basis — apparently similar to The New York Times, which gives non-subscribers a certain number of articles for free — with details due by the end of the year. The firm will also press ahead with its “digital first” editorial model, forcing hacks to file multiple times for online during the day.

The well-remunerated CEO said he could stop printing hard copies completely and move to a “digital only model” if print circulation and revenues changed materially. If the redundancy targets aren’t met voluntarily, they will be compulsory, especially outside “core areas” including news, investigations, business and sport.

As part of the drive, the company’s Tullamarine and Chullora printing presses will close by June 2014, saving $44 million annually. Tullamarine opened to much fanfare in 2003; Chullora employs 230 permanent full-time staff and Tullamarine about 100. The decision raises the prospect that the new tabs will be printed at regional facilities like Ballarat and Beresfield and shipped to their respective CBDs each morning.

The total savings from the dual moves will come in at $235 million annually with one-off costs of $248 million (mostly redundancies) after land sales are factored in.

Furious Age staff were mulling whether to walk off the job to protest the changes with The Age’s house committee convening at midday to formulate a response. A half hour stop work meeting will be held at 4PM to discuss the company’s proposed changes and get feedback. Publisher David Hoath, editorial director Garry Linnell Age editor Paul Ramadge rolled through the changes at an 11am all-staff crisis meeting.

In Sydney, senior SMH business scribe Stuart Washington spoke about “tears on the newsroom floor” and said the paper’s staff was considering its options. Linnell will front staff alongside metro chief Jack Matthews and SMH publisher Peter Fray at 4pm. The mood is poisonous inside the metro newsrooms after the decision two weeks ago to offshore 66 NSW regional sub-editors to New Zealand resulted in a 36-hour strike.

Hywood, a former Australian Financial Review cadet, said he would be booking a “substantial” number of redundancies in the next 60 to 90 days.

Fairfax currently employs 800 metropolitan journalists across The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times and its Brisbane and Perth web portals. In an internal email to staff, obtained by Crikey, metro chief Jack Matthews said 300 staff would be excised from the metro division — 150 from editorial.

The Financial Review Group, which employs 270 people at titles including The AFR and BRW, will slash 10% of its headcount over the next three months.

While it will be hard, it will change the business for the better. I urge people to think twice before challenging the changes,” Hywood told staff, adding it is “the greatest chance to be a profitable or sustainable business in the future”.

Hywood said (read the full address and presentation here) the strategy was about bringing the fixed cost base down and relieving pressure on revenues. The company was “carrying a cost base that is way over what you need”.  Hywood wrote:

This is an historic day for Fairfax Media. We are making the biggest changes to the business ever made and none of us under-estimates the enormity of them.

We are determining our future by decisively moving us along on the journey from print to digital.

While some of the decisions that we are announcing today were very hard to make — others were exciting because of what they will unlock and problems they will solve. All are necessary, all are inevitable — and we will not, and have not, shied away from making them. We know there is no choice.

Very significant change must happen and must happen now. We will not abdicate our responsibility to secure the future of the company.”

In his email, Jack Matthews was equally bullish, saying “the decisions underpinning these changes are difficult, but … we simply cannot shy away from them”.

Not only are they a response to significant revenue pressures brought about by the broader economic environment, but also sweeping structural changes that challenge the economics of our — and virtually all other — traditional publishing businesses. It is important to reiterate that the challenges we face are not unique to Fairfax,” he wrote.

While we have previously announced a range of strategic initiatives to achieve efficiencies and develop new revenue streams, we need to do more to respond to the pace of structural change and the depth of the current cyclical slump in advertising revenue.”

Earlier this morning, Fairfax said it had reaped $166 million by selling off 15% of New Zealand auction site TradeMe. It will continue to hold a majority 51% stake in the company. Hywood also revealed  Fairfax had considered spinning off the metro businesses, and selling its radio division, as recommended by some analysts and 9% shareholder Allan Gray, but after some reflection, he dismissed this course of action. “we do not agree with them, but, we do have to make sweeping changes and we have been working on them for some time.”

Analyst Peter Cox told Crikey the plan was a step in the right direction, but came 10 years too late. “It’s the correct action but it’s too late,” he said. “The board have been asleep at the wheel for the past five to 10 years.

Fairfax management made three big mistakes, Cox said. “They didn’t charge online much earlier, they failed to see how many people would abandon print for online and they failed to capture classified rivers of gold online.”

The metered paywall “was purely a survival technique to get costs below revenue. Of course, this will help Fairfax survive for the time being but it doesn’t mean the company has a future.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national printing chief Lorraine Cassin, told Crikey that the union, which covers staff at Chullora and Tullamarine, was “disturbed” by the announcement.

We’re pretty unimpressed, the way we learned about it was via the media…we’ve had no consultation with our members and we’ll be seeking urgent discussions with the company.” Rolling industrial action was possible: “…we’ll consult with the members and decide how to respond.”

Fairfax shares surged 7.7% to 65.5 cents today against a 2% jump in the broader market. The company had been trading for months at record lows, having lost 15% of its value this year and 85% over the past five years.

Mining entrepreneur and climate change denier Gina Rinehart last week upped her Fairfax stake to 18.6% and is pushing for a board seat for herself and another for her close adviser, right-wing fast food king Jack Cowin.

Additional research by Matthew Knott

  • 1
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink


    “Fairfax management made three big mistakes: they didn’t charge online much earlier (public now used to free content); they failed to see how many people would abandon print for online and failed to capture classified rivers of gold online.”

    but, “public now used to free content” pre-dates ALL of the paywalls: this practice was established well before the walls went up, and I am not being told the News Paywall is an overwhelming success: either at making money, or protecting the brand.

    failed to capture classified rivers of gold online”

    those rivers of gold demand freemium content. You cannot justify the $ charge to the admen without eyeballs, and you don’t get the eyeballs behind a paywall.

    I can’t make this bit add up: the paragraph contradicts itself.


  • 2
    Ronson Dalby
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Time for the ABC to up the number and quality of its servers.

  • 3
    Andrew McIntosh
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    (C)ompany also revealed it was turning The Age and The SMH into tabloids….”

    Good to see they’re making that official.

    Likeliest scenario - Gina The Hutt sweeps in, props it all up with her billions, gloats. Then it’s just a matter of privatising the ABC (forthcoming Abbott government) and that’s it for mainstream media in this country, goodnight.

  • 4
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Ha ha, a paywall. To read the drivel they put up. Yeah sure. I don’t know how many people are willing to pay online for News Corp papers like the Herald Sun but I can’t imagine it’s that many, and given the standards at Fairfax have been inexorably approaching those at News Corp I can’t imagine many will want to pay for that. I certainly won’t.

    Constant spelling and grammatical errors, crap “news”, e.g one of todays “headlines” is about a “fight” between comedians Russell Brand and Graham Norton, others are recaps of last nights television shows - wow, hard hitting news that is. Then they reprint articles from overseas sources - The Guardian(UK) is free so why would I pay to read one of its articles in The Age a week or two later? (This happens regularly).

    Fairfax is headed for oblivion, or now that Gina is buying up, it really will become another version of a News Corp paper.

  • 5
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Time to leave folks. Leave Gina an empty husk of a masthead and the parrot for editor in chief. The SMH is worthless without good journalism. Time for the extended holiday and a nice little farm somewhere.

  • 6
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “Fairfax management made three big mistakes: they didn’t charge online much earlier (public now used to free content)..dude we are all geniuses in retrospect.

  • 7
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    How appropriate that the papers will now go tabloid-size. The website has been tabloid in approach since its inception.

  • 8
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    It’s not clear those strategies would have worked.

    Consider that real estate advertising has been moving towards disintermediation of listings, with the large real estate chains like Century21 simply running their own websites.

    What the SMH hasn’t done very well is to use its content to drive advertising. Take car sales, where viewers want advice as much as they want to see listings. The Fairfax effort is pretty half-hearted. The real threat to all the operators of those sites is the motoring service/lobby using their huge historical content, knowledge and on-the-ground presence (eg, pay us to inspect your car and we’ll throw in access to our reviews archive, reliabliity database, etc). So far the papers have benefited from those organisations’ absence.

    You shouldn’t talk about the SMH as if it were one person. I am very sure there are people in Fairfax who understood what needed to be done well before the rest of newspapers.

    You shouldn’t assume that a model which works for a high-reputation paper in a country with no effective public broadcaster will work in Australia.

    My criticism of Fairfax online is it’s failure to engage. It has no hyper-local content, rather the websites are very focussed along their paper mastheads. The comments don’t eludicate, but make the worst of talkback radio look intelligent. The content is arranged to optimise webhits rather than optimise engagement. There is no user-contributed content of value.

  • 9
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    berliner is not tabloid. not all small papers are tabloid. having said which, I think about all fairfax has left in the chest IS the chest: page-3 might boost sales. I can’t see their journalism doing it..

  • 10
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    what they need is somebody smart, yea, an academic. Maybe somebody like Fred Hilmer. Or Warwick. I say bring back Warwick..

    sorry… too much coffee..

  • 11
    Lord Barry Bonkton
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Well looks like Gina might get some ” Workers ” for her mine from the 1900 sacked workers at her papers. TIP : If Gina or Clive buy anything that you have shares in, SELL quickly before they trash it.

  • 12
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Why is it that so many businesses resist change until its either forced on them such as Telstra or defer it until there is no alternative ? A smaller size was a no brainer once ad revenue started to slide . You can,t read broadsheets when you commute for example and a lot of people who don,t use ipads etc buy a tabloid to read while on the train . How the claim that Fairfax should have charged online earlier is made is hard to understand . Newscorp has only recently tried it and as yet its unknown if its worthwhile . Worldwide that question is still unanswered and as many , maybe majority , are free online as are not .
    Many years ago I broke a life long habit of buying the Hun and opted for the Age because other than the sports pages it had pap content . Even its crosswords were ordinary compared to the Age with its journos not far behind . If you wanted the story you read the Age and if you wanted the headline you read the Hun .
    I think people or some have the wrong idea of why Gina wants influence at Fairfax . To duplicate Newscorp won,t improve circulation but in fact reduce it . What I believe Gina wants is a mouthpiece to create the myth that Gina discovered the minerals herself and is a self made millionaire . Inheritance and litigation is to be removed from the publics awareness . Of course she also wants to mute journalism that discusses centre or slightly left views and push her strange far right perspective . Why does the Kim Il dynasty come to mind . Her great and glorious father and the great and glorious daughter who we should all love and revere . It will never work here but it would work in the sense of stifling opinion articles or editorial direction . More readers for Crikey and their contemporaries and more one paper states after the demise of Fairfax as a serious rival .

  • 13
    Hamis Hill
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    How many of the palace eunuchs of the press, the unelected “politicians in hiding” are caught up in these sackings. Not many, as always those causing the problems usually manage to be kept on.

  • 14
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A sad day as the good ship Fairfax, finally announces they’ve hit the iceberg.
    I think the band just started playing “Nearer my God to thee”.

    BTW. Good luck with that paywall.
    When you’re offering editorial content is as awful as your’s,
    the chances of significant income from mug punters actually *paying* for it…..?
    Tell them they’re dreaming.

  • 15
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Did I hear someone say “too little too late”

    The horse has well and truly bolted and newspapers as we now know them will be a thing of the past by the end of this decade.

    It will be nice to see Gina drop a few hunderd million on Fairfax when it folds.

  • 16
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    As always i’ve enjoyed the comments as much as the actual piece. What would the Fairfax call their Crikey? Struth. Fair Go. Howmuchisit?

  • 17
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    The Orstayan - Oi Oi Oi” I’d reckon …
    or The Furphy.

  • 18
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Time for me to man up and pay for a Crikey subscription, I guess. If I’m going to pay I’m only going to pay for quality, not to be told what to think by Aunty Gina.

  • 19
    znotty Grunt
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Crikey has a pay wall,& then shows ads as well!…get stuffed the lot of ya.

  • 20
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    @Eric “It will be nice to see Gina drop a few hunderd million on Fairfax when it folds.”

    Touche. If there is to be a silver lining on this dark cloud then this is it.

  • 21
    Auntie Skull
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always found broadsheets are better for wrapping up kitchen scraps.

  • 22
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    why use the pejorative term “hacks”to describe fairfax journalists. some might say it takes a hack to know one and just because you work for holier than thou Crikey doesn’t make you any less of a hack than you think Fairfax journalists might be

  • 23
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Just a few points:

    (1) No-one in this article or in the responses appears to have suggested a credible alternative business strategy.

    (2) Complaints that Fairfax journalism has declined in quality are misplaced. Fairfax journalists write for people who are like them - Abbott-haters who like overseas travel, going to trendy cafes and watching trashy TV.

    (3) Crikey as The Great White Hope? Don’t make me laugh! This story alone illustrates how Crikey writers cannot tell the basic difference between factual reporting and editorialising:

    * “The well-remunerated CEO” - zip significance to the story

    * “climate change denier Gina Rinehart” - ditto

    * “right-wing fast food king” - ditto and POV.

  • 24
    dangle fangle
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Entirely appropriate to package the tabloid content of The Age in a tabloid format for the last year or so of this once fine papers existence.

    The move to a tits-n-bums approach was sheer genius, it drove the educated readership away in droves & entirely failed to attract replacements.

    Building the expensive new office in Spencer St was a bit hubristic, too - I guess it will convert into apartments fairly readily.

    Folk *might* pay a bit to read quality journalism online, but no-one in their right mind would part with a zack to look at the tripe they are currently serving up.

  • 25
    william gibbons
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “It will be nice to see Gina drop a few hunderd million on Fairfax when it folds.”

    meh, she’ll make it back in a fortnight. i actually think she wouldn’t mind so much if fairfax did crash, i mean, stifling dissenting opinion is the end game right? what better way than eliminate one of the few outlets left that publishes contrarian views to her own?

    maybe she’l take over crikey next?

  • 26
    Doug from Parkdale
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Hywood wrote:

    We are making the biggest changes to the business ever made and none of us under-estimates the enormity of them.”

    Enormity” is one of those classically misused words. Thorugh frequent mistaken use it’s come to mean “really big”. But the correct meaning (this from MerriamWebster) is “an outrageous, improper, vicious or immoral act”.

    Methinks Hywood accidentally used the word correctly.


  • 27
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    It shows what happens when a newspaper is not run by newspaper people but businessmen. Fairfax were ahead of News Corp in the digital race but they sacked the bloke who built their on-line version and he went to The Guardian.

    I was always perplexed why Fairfax never had a downloadable on-line version like The Australian has.

    I’m not celebrating this news and I would pay for quality on-line content.

    One thing : the Media Alliance has been asleep longer than Fairfax management and all those journos that pay fees to them should either form a new alliance or force the union management out. They are a disgrace and have ignored freelancers for decades despite a shrinking salaried workforce and a growing freelance workforce.

    The day the Media Alliance went into bat for the non-union scabs in the paparazzi when listening devices were found outside Nicole Kidman’s house was the day they lost me.

    Let’s not celebrate - all those workers have families and mortgages.

  • 28
    Edward James
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps these changes will increase the opportunities for public trust journalist to expose their “news” which is ignored by big media?? Edward James

  • 29
    mick j
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Journalists of all persuasion have for too long refused to report the real news. Whilst corruption in government is (generally) absent from publication, only ever given fleeting treatment and all but protected by the media we keep getting the cat up the tree stories and the same gup served up. No wonder people stop buying this publication.

    What is really wrong with Fairfax is that jobs are being sold to New Zealanders and this is a national disgrace as soon we will have more overseas workers than Australians in gainful employment.

    Of course we all need to recognise than gen Y doesn’t buy papers so this is a significant nail in the coffin too.

  • 30
    davidson mary
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    BOOOOO HOOOOO Oh no journalists are now in the real world. Probably would like our sympathy. I don’t think so princesses. The way you have reported on stories about others losing their jobs you all deserve what you get. I can see a heap of wharfies laughing loud over lunch.

  • 31
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Gina isn’t after money in fairfax, she is after power.

    Gina makes more money in her sleep than anyone here could make in their lifetime… she wants fairfax so she can influence politics.

    Though I think the leftwing media need a shakeup I don’t like the idea of people using media to serve their own purpose.

  • 32
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    ….I don’t like the idea of people using media to serve their own purpose.”

    Best joke I’ve heard in weeks.

  • 33
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    The paper won’t be worth reading anyway, once Rinehart gets her grubby little fingers on it.

  • 34
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Dangle Fangle, once great paper mere shadow etc.The real reason they’re going to a smaller page size is less chance of the fluff floating away.

  • 35
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    At this rate Fairfax will be further down the black hole in another twelve months, the shares will be peanuts and, if Ms Rinehart is still so inclined, she can buy the whole kit and caboodle for a song.

    Unfortunately, that kit includes the journos.

  • 36
    Pete from Sydney
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Cox said. “They didn’t charge online much earlier, they failed to see how many people would abandon print for online and they failed to capture classified rivers of gold online.”

    Too bad you weren’t around 10 years ago when that news would have been handy…analyst Peter Cox. Blind Freddy could have made that staement now. The same thing was missed by virtually every newspaper business in the world. Wasn’t just the Australian businesses.

    By the way going tabloid will cut paper costs immensely …it won’t cut quality, that’s thinking like our business analyst friend. Fairfax alreay had a tabloid Fin and Sun Herald. The way Crikey readers bang on about it you’d think it was akin to printing on toilet paper.

    Actually I am wondering though where they’re going to print these new little papers, no Chullora and no Tullamarine printing plants?

    And lastly…Crikey this must be a red letter for you guys, you’ve been wanting newspapers to fail for years now…I assuming you’ll half your prices…most of the stuff you write is either about newspapers or lifted from them?

  • 37
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Despite everything said above, the real losers will be the Australian public, not necessarily because the FFX sheets were so well written etc but simply because they attempted to provide a different view which in turn forced a certain level of honesty onto other media players.

    You remove Fairfax from play (or they are substantially weakened) then our political, business and social agenda becomes the play thing of the Murdoch’s, Stokes etc. Not a healthy situation I would argue.

  • 38
    Mark from Melbourne
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I should have added quote marks to the “honesty” as it isn’t necessarily that they print lies but more a case of giving prominence to their own agenda, less to others, not publishing stories that criticise themselves or their cronies. Not analysing motives etc etc.

  • 39
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Monsieur Alors …

    Surely this is all we can expect from Gina - after all leaving craterous black holes is what she does best after all.

  • 40
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Consumers of media content in Australia have voted with their feet. They are not interested in the extreme left-wing propaganda published by Fairfax and the offending papers will soon cease to exist. It’s just that simple.

  • 41
    Ronson Dalby
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    extreme left-wing propaganda published by Fairfax”

    Yep, I’m so sick of the articles in the SMH from extreme lefties like Gerard Henderson & Paul Sheehan.

    At least that other extreme leftie, Miranda Devine, saw the light and moved to the left-wing Murdoch stable of ‘news’papers.

  • 42
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I just hope their Paywall is as pathetic as the Murdoch one and I can hack around it to read the articles if I need to - seriously it’s harder to access a porn site than get around their paywall on a PC.

  • 43
    Ben Hibbs
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Patriot, it’s not that simple. Traditional newspapers are suffering from falling readership across all political persuasions, which makes a furphy of Rinehart ‘investing’ in Fairfax in order to make money.

  • 44
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Michael De E @1.49pm

    It shows what happens when a newspaper is not run by newspaper people but businessmen.”

    The same principle applied to Hollywood when the accountants took over - the era of classic films long gone, these days mere pap. And completely forgettable.

  • 45
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it is that simple. You just didn’t understand my comment, which was on the future of the most unpopular newspapers in the context of the future of the entire media content landscape. There are papers that will survive for a very long time. Much longer than the Age, etc.

  • 46
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Ben - yes it is exactly that simple … at least for Patriot.

    Every omen is about the decline of this once great country… and the death of Fairfax is just another black crow on the horizon - all due to the “extreme left-wing propaganda” published by Fairfax…. THE WHAT???? Ross Gittins? Mike Carlton? Michelle Grattan? All broadsheet bolsheviks?

    So we’re obviously seeing a flood of customers chasing more objective right-thinking news to be found in the Augean stables of Mr Mollock …in this free-market for commonsense and The Truth. Oh - apparently not. Or have they sought refuge in the arms of Alan Jones? Well no actually … ratings dropping like a rock.

    But heck why let a few facts stand in the way of a decent always right rant…

    Time to lift Howard’s gun laws soon I reckon. Nut season looms.

  • 47
    ian kemp
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I notice that one of the strategies is not - to improve the quality of the content. I will happily pay to read Crikey online (at the current price natch :-) ) and ‘New Scientist’ but jonnowarren is too right - I would never pay to read the crap on the SMH web site.

  • 48
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Can understand Peter Ormondes defeatism. He’s already tried and failed to popularise radical left-wing propaganda publishing in this country in the Tribune.

  • 49
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


    No - we’ve obviously seized Fairfax and of course always had the ABC and SBS … not to mention the Wentworth Courier and the Courier Mail … and don’t forget the Australian in its early days when Rupert was deluded into supporting Labor…. before he discovered dole bludgers and tax avoidance.

    It’s not the newspapers that are the problem Mr P - it’s all this reading and writing rubbish - letting just anyone do it… orta be a law.

    I’m still wondering exactly what country it is you are so patriotic about - obviously hate this one.

  • 50
    Ronson Dalby
    Posted Monday, 18 June 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m still wondering exactly what country it is you are so patriotic about”

    Well, he’s obviously into Tea-bagging .. . whoops, Tea-partying.