Companies

Jul 9, 2012

If I ran Fairfax … I’d fling ‘underperformers and fairy-floss makers’

We've asked an assortment of veteran Fairfax watchers what they would do if they were running the company. We've roped in stockbrokers, media analysts, former editors, the journalists' union and readers.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

Bagging Fairfax has long been a favourite pastime for  those who pontificate on media matters — but never more so than over recent weeks. Since Greg Hywood announced plans to slash staff, close the company’s printing plants and reorganise reporting structures, there’s been plenty of analysis about where it all went wrong for Fairfax (including in several pieces in Crikey). Many commentators have also questioned whether Hywood’s strategy offers a long-term solution to the company’s woes.

33 comments

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33 thoughts on “If I ran Fairfax … I’d fling ‘underperformers and fairy-floss makers’

  1. puddleduck

    Well for a start, I’d get rid of gems like “I stole my mother’s boyfriend”, a charming piece that appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Life “magazine” (I use the latter word lightly). A piece of crap I’d expect to have seen in The Sunday Truth, but presumably considered worthy for inclusion because it was written by “an author”?

    On the other hand, Bruce Guthrie’s opinion piece in the main section of the paper, about his appearance on QandA (with a nice skewering of Sophie Mirabella and her “performance” on same show when Simon Sheikh fainted) was good stuff.

    Why can’t The Age get it right? This drive to the bottom is thoroughly depressing and makes me want to throw the paper straight in the bin without reading it.

  2. Michael de Angelos

    Jesus H Christ : you ask a money man and we get this crap :”editorial slackness and left-wing bias.”

    He really believes those wealthy electorates lap up the News Ltd rubbish about Lara Bingle yet sales of their tabloids and The Australian would prove otherwise (except for the infamous Shire).

    The ‘doctor’s wives” electorates may vote Liberal but that is purely for selfish financial reasons (and why stockbrokers, thank God don’t run the country.). They still want honest comment and news.

    Shelley Meagher is spot on.

  3. Stiofan

    Piece of p*ss: if I owned Fairfax, I’d give Alan Bond a call 😉

    Seriously, Fairfax is in a death spin. In Sydney, the Daily Telegraph is a far better local paper (ie, it talks to people outside the Eastern Suburbs and Newtown, while only The Australian has both the footprint and the resources to be a truly national paper.

  4. Jason Mountney

    Left-wing bias? Yeah, ditch those Trotskyite columnists Gerard Henderson, Peter Costello, Paul Sheehan, Ross Cameron and Chris Whatsisname from the IPA.

  5. Colin Scott

    The right wing audience is already fully served by News and friends. To suggest Fairfax will succeed by trending in their direction is folly. Such a move is sure to accelerate the loss of their current readers and is unlikely to pick up a significant portion of new readers to compensate for such a loss. I hope “go complete against a dominant incumbent on their home turf” isn’t typical of financial market wisdom.

  6. geomac62

    Jason Mountney
    Chris Berg from the not so independent IPA . There is a perfect example of a fluff article by Vanstone in the Age that makes one wonder why they bothered to put it in at all . Costello is bad enough but at least he pretends , not successfully , to write informative opinion pieces . Would that term be an oxymoron , informative opinion pieces ?

  7. tinman_au

    I’d buy Mike Smiths paper just for step 4 (though I’d add something about keeping opinion separate from the story).

    “Step 4: Set new standards in credibility and accountability — the most powerful environment for advertising and readership. Appoint an ombudsman with real power and authority. Expose and punish unethical and incompetent journalists — at Fairfax and elsewhere. Create a culture where the public interest comes first and the size of the picture byline comes last.”

    I stopped buying the Oz when it was obvious they were trying to sell opinions framed as “news”…

  8. john2066

    Get rid of the glorified gossip columnist rubbish that poses for press gallery ‘journalism’ and actually write about policies.

  9. Recalcitrant.Rick

    Absolutely >>>>>>>>>> “Step 4: Set new standards in credibility and accountability — the most powerful environment for advertising and readership. Appoint an ombudsman with real power and authority. Expose and punish unethical and incompetent journalists — at Fairfax and elsewhere. Create a culture where the public interest comes first and the size of the picture byline comes last.”

    The problem is that when you do this you are immediately accused of a Left Wing bias, I wonder why that is?

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