Hugh Marks
Nine CEO Hugh Marks (Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

The survival of former Fairfax papers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age as independent voices will require a ritual sacrifice from Nine if the company wants readers to believe its serious about severing its Liberal links.

Both the company's Liberal Party fundraiser and CEO Hugh Marks' subsequent “apology” -- waiving off journalists' concerns as “perceptions” -- suggest the company just doesn’t get the challenges the mastheads face. Nor how important their independence -- both real and perceived -- is for their survival in a competitive market place.