NewsMediaWorks is holding its 2016 Future Forum in Sydney (at The Ivy) on Friday September 2, featuring a trio of heavy hitters from offshore whose most recent history amply equips them to talk about the future.

There’s Will Lewis, who runs the Dow Jones Company for News Corp and the Murdochs. He’s a bit of a digital whiz (and a former journo and editor at the Financial Times and the London Telegraph, as well as News UK). He is best known for leading the sorting out the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in Britain.

He oversaw by a group of people that founds and went through quite a lot of emails (many that were “lost”) and confirmed that the hacking did take place (those other News UK inquiries “failed” to find evidence). He joined News UK’s Management and Standards Commission (MSC) in February 2011, and left in May 2014 to take up the top gig at Dow Jones.

Another attendee is Blanche Sainsbury, the commercial director of major UK newspaper group Trinity Mirror. She can talk about much money the company lost in its ill-advised, poorly organised newspaper adventure in the UK this year called New Day, which lasted barely a month. Oh, and Trinity Mirror also has its own group of phone-hacking cases, which it is now fighting and settling in the UK. Trinity Mirror last week announced that it will start charging for its tablet edition of the Mirror’s weekday editions. She can share war stories with Lewis.

A third major speaker is Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star. Last week Torstar terminated 52 employees, including journalists and others working on the tablet edition of the Star, which now seems to be no longer the bee’s knees so far as the Star’s digital future is concerned. Torstar had hired about 70 dedicated newsroom staff, including reporters, videographers, designers and graphic artists to work on the tablet, called  Star Touch.

As of Tuesday of this week, only 26 of those employees remain. Torstar spent a reported C$25 million getting the tablet off the ground last year and around C$10 million marketing it. But that is now being wound back.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey