Just under six years ago an unconventional news website called The Huffington Post was launched in the US. Yesterday it was sold for $US315 million.
In those same six years the Fairfax Media group, a far from unconventional Australian newspaper publisher once recognised as the home of fine journalism, has churned through four chief executives — including a new one appointed yesterday — as its share price has fallen about 70%.
Throughout those six years the Fairfax board has consistently expressed its bullish confidence in the company, its strategy, its journalism and in the acuity of its chief executive. It was doing it again yesterday, using the same fine words and sentiments.
We all know that media and journalism is undergoing seismic and seminal change. But if the past six years at Fairfax and HuffPo demonstrate one thing, it is that buzzwords can’t and won’t save old media companies in the eye of the storm.
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