Today marks the start of Chris Mitchell’s last week as editor-in-chief of The Australian. A valedictory interview in this morning’s Oz media section bids the editor adieu. It demonstrated one of the things we here Crikey we will miss most about the Mitchell era: all the wonderful ways he’s been described in his own paper. Because if you want to know how awesome Mitchell is, you only have to read the Oz.

Here’s a small collection of quotes we’ve been putting together, as carried in the pages of The Australian.

“He is no stranger to the corridors of power, no wide-eyed innocent in dealing with politicians and their agendas and no shrinking violet when he feels the need to shout from rooftops his views on what is good or bad for the nation.” — December 7, 2015

Truly an expert on most policy subjects, Mitchell has a photographic memory.” — July 15, 2014

“When pushed on the way he chooses and then drives The Australian’s campaigns, and how as editor he seems to set out to shape not only the national debate but the future of the country, [Mitchell] reluctantly admits his leadership role … He executes campaigns and chases stories that other editors are too weak to pursue …” — July 15, 2014

“News Corp executives credited Mitchell with consistently setting the national agenda by breaking a series of big stories in political, ­social and financial terms, while leading the debate on indigenous reform. They also commended Mitchell for reinventing the newspaper for the digital age with the launch of a successful digital membership program to set the brand up for a strong future.” — December 3, 2015

“I have no quibble with Errol Simper’s assessment of Chris Mitchell’s editorship of The Australian. He is certainly the paper’s finest modern editor and perhaps the best ever.” — December 1, 2015

“The truth was that Mitchell had often conceived, edited and produced close to the entire newspaper. He had nimble instincts. He knew news. He was a conjurer. He was going places.” — November 30, 2015

It is no understatement to say that Mitchell is a polarising figure whose fingerprints are all over every aspect of his paper.” — June 4, 2012

“Brave punters or people with absolutely no idea can bet on The Australian Financial Review’s Michael Stutchbury. Australia’s most indisposed, daffy dilettante editor is priced at $11. It comes after Mitchell, Australia’s longest-serving and most experienced editor, confirmed his decision to retire from the company to spend more time with his family.” — November 18, 2015

Impact is what all editors desire of their publications and The Australian under Mitchell exerts an extraordinary amount in Canberra.” — December 7, 2006

“Another aspect of Mitchell’s reign that probably stands out, at least for long-term insiders and long-time readers, was his all but spectacular refocusing and crystallisation of the newspaper’s editorial aims and directions. Over the course of about 18 months, the paper was all but reinvented.” — August 22, 2011

“For 10 years as editor-in-chief, [Mitchell] has stamped his intellect and aggression across the masthead, driving his team to produce hard-edged, agenda-setting journalism of national significance … Perhaps more uniquely among journalists, Mr Mitchell is a long-term strategist, confiding to colleagues for years about the importance of The Australian being the last major broadsheet newspaper.” — March 4, 2013

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey