14 April 2008

Dear Colleagues

I simply wanted to affirm my support for Don’s (Age MD Don Churchill) note to you last week on The Age ’s coverage of Earth Hour and the paper’s sponsorship arrangements. Day in and day out, The Age keeps full faith with the principles of editorial independence that have been its anchor from its founding. It is a grave disservice for elements within the company to suggest otherwise.

I was very disturbed that some on the staff felt free to tape Andrew’s remarks and distribute them to other media outlets, and that they want to air such concerns outside the paper. These discourteous actions hurt the paper and I think they also do the staff no favours.

I also want to address Eric Beecher’s screed in Crikey and his unremitting criticism of Fairfax Media.

Fairfax Media has never been in stronger shape. Our revenues are growing – and our metro brands, with their combined print and online reach, have never been stronger. Our broadsheets are commercially successful and have an enduring future. Across our mastheads, we have the best editors in the country and, in my view and I think the view of our readers and staff generally, we produce first-class newspapers and magazines. The Age’s circulation and readership are growing – not shrinking – in sharp contrast to other newspapers around the world..

Our websites are #1 in news in Australia, and #1 or #2 in the other categories. With our 100% ownership of our portfolio of news, classified and transaction sites, we have the strongest internet position of any media company in Australasia, and arguably in the world.

Our successful strategy of diversification and growth means that we have the resources to invest in journalism of the highest standards, and that makes us proud every day.

The benefits have started to flow and in the last half Fairfax Media recorded underlying EBIT growth of over 11%.

I do not need any lessons in the issues surrounding “quality journalism” from Eric Beecher. Crikey’s standards are hardly a credit to quality journalism

I get the feeling that Mr Beecher hopes Fairfax Media has cancer, and will die.

My response: I’m afraid our success will continue to disappoint him.

Sincerely

David Kirk
Chief Executive Officer

Peter Fray

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