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Feb 15, 2010

The very first edition of Crikey

Celebrate 15 years of Crikey by reliving the very first edition, in all its muck-raking, fluro-coloured glory.

The original mission of Crikey was to be something akin to Britain’s Private Eye magazine by fearlessly taking on the media, business and politicians with a cheeky and irreverent form of journalism.

However, we didn’t have a contributors budget or journalists on staff, so the opening edition ended up being quite an eclectic but interesting offering.

The National Archive first captured the site on March 3, 2000 — 17 days after the launch — but you can see the original look here:


Publishing half a dozen long stories for free on a website each Sunday was not a business model that made sense, so within a year it had morphed into an email newsletter with up to 100 shorter stories published each week.

However, the internet doesn’t have the space constraints of newspapers or magazines, so we still published plenty of longer pieces online, but the email subscribers simply got an abbreviated introduction with a link.

It was an all-night affair putting together that opening edition, but it holds up pretty well after 10 years and you should take the time to read some of the stories.

We don’t have a screen grab of the opening home page but the six strong stories we debuted with can be tracked through the various section archives of that March 3 snapshot and were as follows:

Howard Government insider writes for Crikeyintroducing political insider Hillary Bray:

Click on the image for the full item:


Christian Kerr was our political gem and the history of Christian’s journey to Crikey was explained in this piece when he departed to The Australian two years ago.

Pissing in the sink:


The headline was never explained in this personal profile of Col Allan, which ended up getting this big run in The New York Observer when he was sent from Sydney to edit The New York Post in 2001. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and it was great fun skewering this bully who had to explain his toiletry habits when asked about it by Helen Dalley for a Sunday profile.

Crikey goes inside a $32 billion law suit against our biggest bank:


It was inside all right, written by someone directly involved in the litigation. NAB’s shares tanked the following week and we then got sprayed by Michael Pascoe on Business Sunday. John Maconochie never did get his big settlement but he sure did make some waves.

The Crikey Register of Journalists:


Much of the pre-launch marketing to journalists came from sending mass emails researching the original seven Crikey lists tracking various things about journalists, such as political affiliations and selling out to the dark side. It was the first of many popular Crikey lists.

Lachlan’s philosophy tutor tells all:


An old family friend Alan Hajek had taught Lachlan Murdoch philosophy at Princeton and told the entertaining story of not knowing who his famous student was and rejecting an invitation to spend Christmas with the Murdochs at Cavan near Canberra.

Journalism in the Top End: how one polly strangled me:

ABC TV journalist Jeremy Thompson produced an amusing personal account about the time then CLP Lands Minister Max Ortmann attempted to strangle him with a television cable. Only in Darwin! This was the only paid content in the first edition, costing $100 in cash.

Killing Heidi goes vertical with Village Roadshow:


An excellent anonymous insight supplied by someone close to the Killing Heidi duo who was disappointed with the corporate takeover of their careers.

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7 thoughts on “The very first edition of Crikey

  1. baal

    Congratulations Crikey. Your mention of Private Eye is timely. Official UK circulation figures show it is now selling 210 000+ copies a fortnight – the highest in eighteen years. That”s a lot for a pokey little rag that concentrates on bad taste jokes, gossip and investigative journalism. All other ‘mainstream’ publications going south in the UK (as here)

  2. Virginia Gordon

    I remember the evenings of Mr Mayne in netcafes furiously filing and see the history of crikey also as the history of new media in journalism in Australia.He did it while others theorised about it. Crikey has had an enormous impact on the political and media landscape of Australia..pushing both mainstream media and pollies ..> …for those of us who shared the family moments of the wife going back to work to support the venture, the gorgeous children and more around the feet of the emerging media “mogul”. Congrats to the crikey family and the crikey army..those who wrote publicly and privately.

  3. pandora

    Stephen, nice to see you going through the Crikey archives. It is actually the National Library (not the the National Archives) that has been collecting and preserving Crikey for the national record (especially the historically important early issues). They can be found at

  4. paddy

    kudos to you Stephen.
    A thousand thanks for all your struggles in keeping it going during the early days.
    The Australian media scene world be a *much* poorer place without Crikey.
    Well done to all who’ve stuck their oar in along the way.

  5. Sancho

    Well done, Crikey. I love the way MSM columnists mock Crikey for being irrelevant, then turn around and refer to it constantly while devoting entire articles to downplaying what’s printed here.

  6. David

    Hey Steve. Congratualtions. Set the standard for blogs. Unchecked. Self-serving. Grotty. Unprincipled. And often unethical. Now even your old mates hate you. Isn’t it grand?

  7. Cuppa

    Crikey walks it all over the ABC for independent coverage these days.

    The ABC has become little more than a vector for Liberal Party talking points.

    Long Live Crikey!