The Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald logo.svg
Sydney Morning Herald front page 12-12-2005.jpg
The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald
on 30 March 2007.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner Fairfax Media
Editor Amanda Wilson
Founded 1831
Headquarters One Darling Island,
Sydney, Australia
ISSN 0312-6315
Official website

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet 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. The newspaper is published six days a week. The newspaper's Sunday counterpart, The Sun-Herald, is published in tabloid format. It is available at outlets in Sydney, regional New South Wales, Canberra and South East Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast).



The Sydney Morning Herald is historically credited with high standards of journalism but in recent years it has been criticised for declining standards, with an increased focus on gossip, large photographs and racier headlines.[1]

Fairfax Media publishes a variety of supplements, including the magazines Good Weekend (which is included in the Saturday editions of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald; and the(sydney)magazine, with a counter-part the(melbourne)magazine released in the sister-city publication. 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

Defunct sections include a dot-com section called published in the late 1990s and a youth section called Radar published in the early 2000s. In a cost-cutting drive, editorial production of several of these sections was outsourced in 2008.

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.[2] The Audit Bureau of Circulations audit on newspaper circulation states that on average in excess of 209,500 copies sold per day, Monday to Friday, and 340,127 copies of the Saturday edition sold.[3]

The editor is Amanda Wilson. Former editors include Frederick William Ward, Charles Brunsdon Fletcher, Colin Bingham, Max Prisk, John Alexander, Paul McGeough, Alan Revell, Alan Oakley and Peter Fray.[citation needed]


The cover of the newspaper's first edition, on 18 April 1831

Three employees of the now-defunct Sydney Gazette, Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie, founded 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."

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. 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 2007, Fairfax Media announced it would be moving from a broadsheet format to the smaller "compact" size, in the footsteps of The Times, for both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.[4] Fairfax Media 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 at a state election until 2003. 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 Herald declined to endorse a party at the 2004 federal election, in line with a decision that it would "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 Labor at the 2007 and 2010 Federal elections.[8]

Notable contributors


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 a Fairfax family member, John B. Fairfax, in as a significant player in the company.[9]


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.[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), word play, 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 it. The old Granny logo was used for the first 20 years of the column and is occasionally resurrected for a special retrospective.[10] The logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.[11][13]

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on 31 January 2004.[10][14] 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]


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 showcases work by regular columnists, including Herald political columnist Phillip Coorey, Paul Sheehan and Richard Ackland, as well occasional reader-submitted content.

Criticised by some for adopting a "liberal standpoint" within general reporting, the Opinion section of the Herald is often praised for its comparatively varied ideological showcase. It often publishes articles written by politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, with former Treasurer, Peter Costello, current Federal Minister for Social Inclusion and Human Services, Tanya Plibersek, and Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull all regular contributors.

The Herald and its opinion section is in direct competition with Sydney daily, The Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph is considered a conservative paper, showing support for the centre-right Australian coalition within both the state and federal arenas. The Telegraph is a Murdoch-owned publication.

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 writers and syndicated from overseas as well as sections on food, wine and fashion.

Writers include Mark Dapin, 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 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.

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.

See also


  1. ^ Manning, Peter (3 October 2006). "Calling them to account: How can we demand higher standards from our failing news media?" (transcript). UTS Speaks (University of Technology Sydney). Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  2. ^ "Roy Morgan Readership estimates for Australia for the 12 months to March 2011". Roy Morgan Research. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald: Audience". Fairfax Media Advertising Centre. Fairfax Media. March 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Tabakoff, Nick (3 May 2007). "'Smage' journos must adapt". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Manning, James (10 March 2008). "National daily plans new business website and monthly colour magazine". MediaWeek (Sydney, Australia) (854): 3, 7, 8. 
  6. ^ "It's time for a vote of greater independence". Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald). 2004-10-07. 
  7. ^ "Why NSW cannot afford four more years of Labor". Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald). 2007-03-22. 
  8. ^ "The more they stay the same …". Editorial (The Sydney Morning Herald). 2007-11-24. 
  9. ^ Ruth Park (1999). Ruth Park's Sydney. Duffy & Snellgrove. ISBN 1-875989-45-5. 
  10. ^ a b c "26.19 Granny George calls it a day" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (Queensland: ANHG via the University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication Website) (26): 5. February 2004. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  11. ^ a b "8.37 Changes in the Herald: Who will make me smile before breakfast?" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (Queensland: ANHG via the University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication Website) (8): 17–18. August 2000. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  12. ^ "41.26 Has the world gone mad? Column 8 at 60" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (Queensland: ANHG via the University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication Website) (41): 8. February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  13. ^ Souter, Gavin (1983). "Deamer, Sydney Harold (1891–1962)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  14. ^ a b Ramsey, Alan (4 February 2004). "George has moved on but his Granny still lives". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  15. ^ "32.31 Column 8 Changes Style" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (Queensland: ANHG via the University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication Website) (32). May 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2008-01-15. "The Column 8 has a new editor, Pat Sheil, and he is changing the style of the 58-year-old Sydney Morning Herald column. “I am trying to make it a bit edgier than it was,” he told MediaWeek (11 April 2005, p.6). “Basically, Column 8 should be like a chat, without making it too trite or stupid.” George Richards edited Column 8 for fifteen and a half years before retiring early last year (see ANHG 26.19). James Cockington edited it until handing over to Sheil in February this year." 

External links

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