“Why would we be expanding our print facilities in North Richmond and Ballarat if we were considering such a move?!”

Double punctuation. Greg Hywood is mad. In grasping the hospital pass to be Fairfax CEO, Hywood has withstood intense criticism of the management of the country’s most storied institution for quality journalism — much of it entirely fair. He is fighting back the best he can.

That line was from a staff missive this morning, which Crikey publishes today, in relation to reports The Age and The Sydney Morning could stop printing weekday editions sooner rather than later. It comes after a week in which one of Hywood’s own journalists — Pamela Williams — published a book raking over the litany of sheer management incompetence that has left the company on life support. Hywood reserved page two of his papers today to republish a weekend SMH editorial that stated:

“… Fairfax is developing a business model that can ensure the Herald serves the Australian public with independent journalism for another 182 years. That Williams can write a book which exposes her employer to cheap shots from rivals says a lot about editorial independence.”

Perhaps. And Hywood is right about one thing: the glee with which James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch have danced on the plot reserved for Fairfax, an institution that should be holding them to account, is galling. But the suggestion that this company — bleeding cash, wedded to failing business models, slashing and burning the only resource it is valued for, its journalism — will be around in its current form in another 182 years is the sort of blind hubris he accuses the rich kids of.

Hywood should direct his anger at the real culprits — his current chairman, Roger Corbett, and the “honour” roll of former executives that ran the place into the ground.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.