Mark Day’s claims in The Australian yesterday that Fairfax’s global Unaoil corruption scoop was boring and unlikely to drive traffic has been demolished by the actual data.

Internal traffic reports at Fairfax have concluded that the Unaoil Bribe Factory series was one of the most read online exercises ever published by the company.

An internal email circulated among journalists concluded:

“In total across all mastheads, the series has attracted 882,600 unique browsers and racked up more than 1.4 million page views. The engagement has been amazing, with the readers collectively spending 1800 days, or almost FIVE YEARS, reading the series.”

“On social media the story was also hugely popular. It was the fourth-most shared story overall on The Age in the past 12 months and it was the most shared item ever on Twitter for The Age, with more than 5570 Twitter shares — more than three times the previous record-holder. And it is the second-most shared item across all Australian news websites in the past 12 months with a total of 47,400 shares.”

And this is only domestic data.

Surely Mark Day will have to issue a correction in his next column after making these two statements yesterday:

“I doubt that more than 1 per cent of Fairfax’s readers cared more than a tinker’s cuss about the story.”

“I doubt that the oil bribery story put on a single extra sale for the SMH or Age print editions.”

I doubt Mark Day even bothered to check his facts before positing these views, something he regularly lectures others about.

Erstwhile Oz editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell was supposed to be getting a media column in The Australian, but nothing has materialised as yet. Mark Day turns 73 on April 19. Yesterday’s effort made a compelling case for pensioning off dinosaur Day and giving his valuable print real estate to Mitchell.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW