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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: The Sydney Morning Herald

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The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald
on March 30, 2007.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet

Owner Fairfax Media
Editor Alan Oakley
Founded 1831
Price AU$1.30 Monday–Friday
AU$2.30 Saturday
Headquarters Flag of Australia 201 Sussex Street,
Sydney, NSW, Australia
ISSN 0312-6315


The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. The newspaper’s Sunday edition, The Sun-Herald, is published in tabloid format. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously-published newspaper in Australia.



The Sydney Morning Herald is considered to be Sydney’s “newspaper of record”. The paper is historically credited with high standards of journalism, however in recent years it has been accused of “dumbing down” editorial content, with more space allocated to larger photographs and lifestyle-based stories.[1]

The Saturday edition includes an in-depth features section called News Review, and arts and entertainment guide Spectrum. The SMH publishes a variety of supplements, including the magazines Good Weekend and the(sydney)magazine; and the lift-outs The Guide + icon (television and electronics — these were once separate liftouts but merged in 2007), Good Living (lifestyle) and Metro (entertainment). The lift-outs Domain (real estate), Drive (motoring) and MyCareer (employment) are co-branded with Fairfax Media’s successful online classified advertising sites.

The Sydney Morning Herald has the second-highest circulation in Sydney, behind the tabloid Daily Telegraph. In 2007 the paper sold an average of 212,700 copies per weekday and an average 364,000 copies on Saturdays.[2]

The editor is Alan Oakley. Former editors include George Richards and Peter Luck.[citation needed]


Three employees of the now-defunct Sydney Gazette, Alfred Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie, founded the The Sydney Herald in 1831. The 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.”

Frederick William Ward was editor 1884 to 1890.[3]

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.

One of the newspaper’s best-loved features is Column 8. The column, which was first published on January 11, 1947, publishes reports from readers of interesting observations, such as confusing signs or amusing trends. Column 8 takes its name from its former position in the eighth column of the front page. In 2000, to the consternation of some readers, the column was moved to the back page.

In 1995, the company launched, the newspaper’s web edition. 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 to new offices at Darling Park and built a new printing press at Chullora, in the city’s west.

In 2000, the newspaper was radically redesigned by Sydney-based publication design group de Luxe & Associates.[citation needed]

Like its stablemate The Age, the Herald announced in early 2007 that it would be moving from a broadsheet format to the smaller Berliner size, in the footsteps of The Guardian and The Courier-Mail.[4] Both the Age and the Herald dumped these plans later in the year without explanation, to the amusement of The Australian’s Chris Mitchell, who called the about-face “a bit embarrassing”.[5]

Political viewpoint

Historically, the SMH has been a conservative newspaper as evidenced by the fact that it did not endorse the Australian Labor Party at any election until 1984, or state election until 2003. Its parent company, Fairfax, is currently run by a high profile former member of the Liberal party, Ron Walker.

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

In a surprise move, the SMH declined to endorse a party at the 2004 Federal election in line with a decision to “no longer endorse one party or another at election time.” The newspaper noted that the policy might yet be revised: “A truly awful government of any colour, for example, would bring reappraisal.”[6] The Herald subsequently endorsed the conservative Coalition at the 2007 NSW State election [7], but endorsed the Labor party at the 2007 Federal election[8].

Notable contributors

  • David Marr
  • Miranda Devine
  • Adele Horin
  • Gerard Henderson
  • Ross Gittins
  • Peter FitzSimons


Main article: Fairfax Media

Fairfax went public in 1957 and grew to acquire interests in magazines, radio and television. The group collapsed spectacularly on December 11, 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 a Fairfax family member, John B. Fairfax, in as a significant player in the company.[9]

Column 8

Column 8 is a short column published by The Sydney Morning Herald in which readers who find interesting happenings have their short letters and observations published. Column 8 was first published on January 11, 1947.[10] 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.[11]

The content tends to the quirky, typically involving strange urban occurrences, instances of confusing signs (often in Engrish), wordplay, and discussion of more or less esoteric topics.[12]

The column is also sometimes affectionately known as Granny, after a fictional grandmother who supposedly edited the content. The old Granny logo was used for the first twenty years of the column and is occasionally resurrected for a special restrospective.[10] The logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.[13][11]

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on January 31, 2004.[14][10] Other editors besides Deamer and Richards have been Duncan Thompson, Bill Fitter, Col Allison, Jim Cunningham, and briefly, Peter Bowers and Lenore Nicklin.[14] The column is currently edited by Pat Sheil.[15]

Several volumes collecting highlights have been published:

  • (1995) in Richards, George (editor): The best of Column 8. Sydney: Sydney Morning Herald Books. ISBN 186290104X. [16]
  • (1996) in Richards, George (editor): More of the best of Column 8. Sydney: Sydney Morning Herald Books. ISBN 186290104X. [17]
  • (2006) in Richards, George (editor): Column 8 : the best of Column 8. Sydney: Fairfax Enterprises. ISBN 1921190051. – publication to coincide with the Sydney Morning Herald’s 175th birthday[18]
  • (c. 2006) in Richards, George (editor): Column 8 : the best of Column 8. Volume 2. Sydney: Fairfax Enterprises. ISBN 192119006X. [19]

Good Weekend

Good Weekend is a liftout magazine that is distributed with both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Saturdays.

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

Writers include Janet Hawley, Amanda Hooton, John van Tiggelen and Greg Bearup.

There is one page dedicated to trivia: A section called ‘Myth Conceptions’ written by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki contains interesting science facts, as well as a quiz and statistics; “Your Time Starts Now” interviews a range of well-known people.

Other popular 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 has been edited by Judith Whelan since 2004. The deputy editor is Lauren Quaintance and the associate editor is Cindy MacDonald. The previous editor was Fenella Souter. She has returned to a writing position with the magazine.

Other Australian weekend magazines are included in The Australian and the Sun-Herald newspapers as well as the (sydney) magazine in The Sydney Morning Herald which is distributed once per month.

Big Questions

This column, which appears in Spectrum in the Saturday edition poses sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical questions and publishes readers’ answers.

See also

  • List of newspapers in Australia
  • Australian Journalism
  • Earth Hour
This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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