After an agonising selection process involving several false dawns Rural Press has finally selected a new editor for The Canberra Times. It is Mark Baker, who is presently Diplomatic Affairs Editor of The Age.

In
a memo to staff last Friday General Manager Lloyd Whish-Wilson said, “We
believe that Mark is a person of great experience who will suit the
Canberra environment and who understands the needs of the newspaper.”

De-coded, this means that Rural Press has finally accepted, thanks to falling circulation, that The Canberra Times
is not like any other country town newspaper. There is now a
recognition that when the town’s main industry is politics and
government, a different approach is needed.

Baker’s appointment
is about journalistic quality and solidity. Baker has been a foreign
correspondent, chief of staff and opinion page editor for The Age. It is not yet clear when he will take up his appointment, but he is expected in Canberra within days to meet the staff.

Rural Press would like The Canberra Times
to be a flagship to be proud of. Whether they are prepared to spend
enough money to give Baker the resources he needs is another thing
entirely.

Peter Fray

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