The appointment of Chris Mitchell as The Australian's editor-in-chief in July 2002 brought with it the start of a concentrated repositioning of the paper to what Mitchell calls the "centre-right", partly in a bid to differentiate it from Fairfax's Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Mitchell's realignment of the paper, no surprise to long-time readers or critics, is heavily covered in his memoir, Making Headlines, which was released in early September. Mitchell took his appointment to the top position as an opportunity to significantly change its tone. "The Australian had previously been better known for its analysis and commentary," he wrote. He set its focus on news.