The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily compact newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and a national online news brand.[2] The newspaper is published six days a week. It is available at outlets in Sydney, regional New South Wales, Canberra, and South East Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast).

Overview

The Sydney Morning Herald includes a variety of supplements, including the magazines Good Weekend (which is included in the Saturday edition of The Sydney Morning Herald); and the (Sydney) magazine. There are a variety of lift-outs, some of them co-branded with Fairfax Media's online classified advertising sites:

  • The Guide (television) on Monday
  • Good Living (food) and Domain (real estate) on Tuesday
  • Money (personal finance) on Wednesday
  • Drive (motor), Metro (entertainment) on Friday
  • News Review, Spectrum (arts and entertainment guide), Domain (real estate), Drive (motoring) and MyCareer (employment) on Saturday

According to Roy Morgan Research Readship Surveys, in the twelve months to March 2011, the paper was read 766,000 times on Monday to Friday, and read 1,014,000 times on Saturdays.[3] The Audit Bureau of Circulations's audit on newspaper circulation states that in December 2013 an average of 132,000 copies were sold, Monday to Friday, and 228,000 copies on Saturday, both having declined 16% in 12 months.[4] By February 2016, average circulation had fallen to 104,000.[5]

Concerning the newspaper's website smh.com.au, third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb rate the site as the 17th and 32nd most visited website in Australia respectively, as of July 2015.[6][7] SimilarWeb rates the site as the fifth most visited news website in Australia and as the 42nd newspaper's website globally, attracting more than 15 million visitors per month.[7][8][9]

The editor is Darren Goodsir. Former editors include William Curnow, Andrew Garran, Sean Aylmer, Frederick William Ward, Charles Brunsdon Fletcher, Colin Bingham, Max Prisk, John Alexander, Paul McGeough, Alan Revell, Alan Oakley and Peter Fray.

History

In 1831 three employees of the now-defunct Sydney Gazette, Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie, founded The Sydney Herald. In 1931 a Centenary Supplement (since digitised) was published.[2] The original four-page weekly had a print run of 750. In 1840, the newspaper began to publish daily. In 1841, an Englishman named John Fairfax purchased the operation, renaming it The Sydney Morning Herald the following year. Fairfax, whose family were to control the newspaper for almost 150 years, based his editorial policies "upon principles of candour, honesty and honour. We have no wish to mislead; no interest to gratify by unsparing abuse or indiscriminate approbation."

During the decade 1890, Donald Murray worked there.

The SMH was late to the trend of printing news rather than just advertising on the front page, doing so from 15 April 1944. Of the country's metropolitan dailies, only The West Australian was later in making the switch. In 1949, the newspaper launched a Sunday edition, The Sunday Herald. Four years later, this was merged with the newly acquired Sun newspaper to create The Sun-Herald, which continues to this day.

In 1995, the company launched the newspaper's web edition smh.com.au.[2] The site has since grown to include interactive and multimedia features beyond the content in the print edition. Around the same time, the organisation moved from Jones Street to new offices at Darling Park and built a new printing press at Chullora, in the city's west. The SMH has since moved with other Sydney Fairfax divisions to a building at Darling Island.

In May 2007, Fairfax Media announced it would be moving from a broadsheet format to the smaller compact or tabloid-size, in the footsteps of The Times, for both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.[2] Fairfax Media dumped these plans later in the year. However, in June 2012, Fairfax Media again announced it planned to shift both broadsheet newspapers to tabloid size, in March 2013.[2] Fairfax also announced it would cut staff across the entire group by 1,900 over three years and erect paywalls around the papers' websites.[13] The subscription type is to be a freemium model, limiting readers to a number of free stories per month, with a payment required for further access.[14] The announcement was part of an overall "digital first" strategy of increasingly digital or on-line content over printed delivery, to "increase sharing of editorial content", and to assist the managements wish for "full integration of its online, print and mobile platforms".[13]

In July 2013 it was announced that the SMH's news director, Darren Goodsir, would become Editor-in-Chief, replacing Sean Aylmer.[2]

On 22 February 2014, the final Saturday edition was produced in broadsheet format with this too converted to compact format on 1 March 2014.[2] ahead of the decommissioning of the printing plant at Chullora in June 2014.[2]

Political viewpoint

Historically, the SMH was a conservative newspaper. It did not endorse the Australian Labor Party at any election until the 1984 federal election or at a state election until 2003.

During the 2004 Australian federal election, the Herald announced it would "no longer endorse one party or another at election time". The newspaper said the policy might yet be revised: "A truly awful government of any colour, for example, would bring reappraisal."[2] The Herald subsequently endorsed the conservative Coalition at the 2007 NSW state election,[3] but endorsed Labor at the 2007 and 2010 federal elections,[3] before endorsing the Coalition again at the 2013 federal elections: "The Herald believes only the Coalition can achieve [a stable government that can be trusted to deliver what it promises]".[3]

The newspaper has in recent years attempted to spearhead political campaigns, including the "Campaign for Sydney" (planning and transport) and "Earth Hour" (environment).

Notable contributors

Notable illustrators

  • Simon Letch has been as one of the year's best illustrators 4 times by the National Museum of Australia (NMA).[3]

[3] [3] [3]

Ownership

Fairfax went public in 1957 and grew to acquire interests in magazines, radio and television. The group collapsed spectacularly on 11 December 1990 when Warwick Fairfax, great-great-grandson of John Fairfax, attempted to privatise the group by borrowing $1.8 billion. The group was bought by Conrad Black before being re-listed in 1992. In 2006, Fairfax announced a merger with Rural Press, which brought in a Fairfax family member, John B. Fairfax, as a significant player in the company.[3]

Content

Column 8

Column 8 is a short column to which Herald readers send their observations of interesting happenings. It was first published on 11 January 1947.[27] The name comes from the fact that it originally occupied the final (8th) column of the broadsheet newspaper's front page. In a front-page redesign in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Column 8 moved to the back page of the first section from 31 July 2000.[28]

The content tends to the quirky, typically involving strange urban occurrences, instances of confusing signs (often in Engrish), word play, and discussion of more or less esoteric topics.[29]

The column is also sometimes affectionately known as Granny, after a fictional grandmother who supposedly edited it. The old Granny logo was used for the first 20 years of the column and is occasionally resurrected for a special retrospective.[27] The logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.[28][4]

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on 31 January 2004.[27][31] Other editors besides Deamer and Richards have been Duncan Thompson, Bill Fitter, Col Allison, Jim Cunningham, and briefly, Peter Bowers and Lenore Nicklin.[31] The column is, as of December 2015, edited by Pat Sheil.[4]

Opinion

The Opinion section is a regular of the daily newspaper, containing opinion on a wide range of issues. Mostly concerned with relevant political, legal and cultural issues, the section presents work by regular columnists, including Herald political columnist Phillip Coorey, Paul Sheehan and Richard Ackland, as well as occasional reader-submitted content. Iconoclastic Sydney barrister Charles C. Waterstreet, upon whose life the television workplace comedy Rake is loosely based, also has a regular humour column in this section.

Good Weekend

Good Weekend is a liftout magazine that is distributed with both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Saturday editions.

It contains, on average, four feature articles written by its stable of writers and others syndicated from overseas as well as sections on food, wine and fashion.

Writers include Janet Hawley and Amanda Hooton.

Other sections include "Modern Guru", which features humorous columnists including Danny Katz responding to the everyday dilemmas of readers; a Samurai Sudoku; and "The Two Of Us", containing interviews with a pair of close friends, relatives or colleagues.

Good Weekend is edited by Amelia Lester. Previous editors include Ben Naparstek, Judith Whelan and Fenella Souter.

Digitisation

The paper has been partially digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program (ANDP) project of the National Library of Australia.[4][4]