The Sydney Morning Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald

The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald (May 9, 2016), occupied with a report on the start of the 2016 federal election campaign.
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact
Owner(s) Fairfax Media
Founder(s) Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie
Editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir
Founded 18 April 1831
Political alignment Centre
Language English
Headquarters 1 Darling Island Road, Pyrmont, New South Wales
Circulation 104,000 (February 2016)
Sister newspapers The Sun-Herald (Sunday edition)
The Age (Melbourne)
ISSN 0312-6315
OCLC number 226369741

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.[1] 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).


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:

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'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.[3] By February 2016, average circulation had fallen to 104,000.[4]

Concerning the newspaper's website, 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.[5][6] 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.[6][7][8]

The editor is Darren Goodsir. Former editors include William Curnow,[9] 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.


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

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.[10] 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[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] Fairfax also announced it would cut staff across the entire group by 1,900 over three years and erect paywalls around the papers' websites.[14] 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.[15] 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".[14]

In July 2013 it was announced that the SMH's news director, Darren Goodsir, would become Editor-in-Chief, replacing Sean Aylmer.[16]

On 22 February 2014, the final Saturday edition was produced in broadsheet format with this too converted to compact format on 1 March 2014.[17] ahead of the decommissioning of the printing plant at Chullora in June 2014.[18]

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."[19] The Herald subsequently endorsed the conservative Coalition at the 2007 NSW state election,[20] but endorsed Labor at the 2007 and 2010 federal elections,[21] 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]".[22]

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

[24] [25] [26]


Main article: Fairfax Media

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.[27]


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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30]

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.[28] The logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.[29][31]

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on 31 January 2004.[28][32] Other editors besides Deamer and Richards have been Duncan Thompson, Bill Fitter, Col Allison, Jim Cunningham, and briefly, Peter Bowers and Lenore Nicklin.[32] The column is, as of December 2015, edited by Pat Sheil.[33]


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.


The paper has been partially digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program (ANDP) project of the National Library of Australia.[34][35][36]

See also


  1. Lagan, Bernard. "Breaking: News and hearts at the Herald". Global Mail. Digital Global Mail Limited. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  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. "ABC Circulation Results-Feb 2014" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  4. ABCs: The Age sees digital subscriptions slide as The Australian nearly doubles AFR print sales Mumrella 12 February 2016
  5. " Site Overview". Alexa. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  6. 1 2 " Analytics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  7. "Top 50 sites in Australia for News And Media". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. "Top 50 sites in the world for News And Media > Newspapers". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  9. John Langdon Bonython, Address of the President, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Volume XXIV, Parts 1 and 2, 1933-34, p8.
  10. "The Sydney Morning Herald Centenary Supplement 1831 - April 18th - 1931" (PDF). The Sydney Morning Herald. 1831. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  12. Tabakoff, Nick (3 May 2007). "'Smage' journos must adapt". The Australian. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  13. Souter, Gavin (1 March 2013). "History makes way for compact future". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  14. 1 2 Zappone, Chris (18 June 2012). "Fairfax to shed 1900 staff, erect paywalls". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  15. Simpson, Kirsty (18 June 2012). "Fairfax moves to 'freemium' model". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  16. "New Sydney Morning Herald Editor-in-Chief announced". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 July 2013.
  17. Homewood, Sarah (28 January 2014). "Fairfax to complete transition to compact". The Newspaper Works. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  18. Elliot, Tim (7 June 2014). "Full stop for Chullora print plant after 19 years". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  19. "Editorial: It's time for a vote of greater independence". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 October 2004.
  20. "Editorial: Why NSW cannot afford four more years of Labor". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 March 2007.
  21. "Editorial: The more they stay the same …". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 November 2007.
  22. "Editorial: Australians deserve a government they can trust". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 September 2013.
  23. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons.". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  24. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons.". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  25. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons.". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  26. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons.". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  27. Ruth Park (1999). Ruth Park's Sydney. Duffy & Snellgrove. ISBN 1-875989-45-5.
  28. 1 2 3 "26.19 Granny George calls it a day" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter. University of Queensland's School of Journalism & Communication (26): 5. February 2004. Archived from the original (pdf (20 pages)) on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  29. 1 2 "8.37 Changes in the Herald: Who will make me smile before breakfast?" (pdf (19 pages)). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter. University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication (8): 17–18. August 2000. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  30. "41.26 Has the world gone mad? Column 8 at 60" (pdf (20 pages)). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter. University of Queensland's School of Journalism & Communication (41): 8. February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  31. Souter, Gavin (1983). "Deamer, Sydney Harold (1891–1962)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  32. 1 2 Ramsey, Alan (4 February 2004). "George has moved on but his Granny still lives". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
  33. "32.31 Column 8 Changes Style" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter. University of Queensland’s School of Journalism & Communication (32). May 2005. Archived from the original (pdf (20 pages)) on 16 February 2008. 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.
  34. "Newspaper and magazine titles". Trove Digitised newspapers and more. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  35. "Newspaper Digitisation Program". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  36. Brown, Jerelynn (2011). "Tabloids in the State Library of NSW collection: A reflection of life in Australia". Australian Journal of Communication. 38 (2): 107–121.

Further reading

External links

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