Australian Story: Oct 29

Monday’s Australian Story is a must-see episode for anybody interested in the state of media in Australia.

It follows veteran print reporter Malcolm Brown on his personal D Day as job cuts sweep through Australia’s oldest newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald.

As the days of collecting the morning paper from the front lawn are ending, news is available anytime on dazzling digital platforms.

Australian’s oldest media outlet, the Fairfax Media owned Sydney Morning Herald is facing the most turbulent period in its near 200 year history.

Amidst criticism the company failed to find a place in the digital realm quickly enough, the company is embarking on a severe cost-cutting drive.

For some, it’s the dawn of a new era of boundless opportunity; for others, the end of a proud tradition.

Veteran reporter Malcolm Brown is just one of the reporters fighting to keep a place inside the paper he’s served faithfully for forty years.

Malcolm Brown first joined the Sydney Morning Herald as a twenty-five year old from Dubbo and has covered the country’s biggest stories including the Chamberlain case, the Hilton Hotel bombing, Fiji coups and the Wood Royal Commission.

During a time when print was in the ascendancy and fuelled by ‘rivers of gold’ generated by the paper’s classifieds, Brown was at the top of his game, chronicling the day’s events in rolling coverage.

“Malcolm has this incredible drive to get the story right and to get it clear. I think he comes from a time when journalists had that time to do the research, to make sure they understood correctly,” says Mark Tedeschi, NSW’s Senior Crown Prosecutor.

Australian Story goes inside the offices of the Sydney Morning Herald as staff wait for the white redundancy envelopes that reveal who is staying and who’s out the door…

8pm Monday ABC1.


  1. Secret Squirrel

    The Australian is not just a vanity rag for Murdoch, it also allows him to continue that fine American tradition of interfering in the running of other countries, and of influencing who gets to do that running.

  2. hmm,ok so no figures from The Australian yet huh?It’s not only how their online subscriptions are doing, I was wondering,but whether their paywall might have bumped the paper’s circulation to any extent.

  3. The Australian has always lost more than $10m a year. It is a vanity paper that is subsidised by the rest of the business. The recent paywall has reportedly been a total disaster, though they are yet to release any official figures (there are some that have been promised for next month).

    The split forced on Murdoch is the TV and film business saying they were no longer going to carry the print business.

  4. Why is one group of people getting laid off due to unstoppable forces of economic change so important? Because they are in the media and can use it to highlight their plight when others can’t?

    Even if Fairfax had abandoned its print classifieds and captured the digital market it would have lost the money that paid for the journalism. The only way they could have stayed competitive in an internet market where the barriers to entry are so low would be to stop subsiding the journalism. Different path that ends up at exactly the same point.

    The internet is a highly disruptive invention and it breaks the broadsheet newpaper model in three ways. It competes for advertising, creates a separate market for classifieds, and forces them to compete with free online news and social media. That is what is interesting. Not the complaints of very wealthy professionals whose company can no longer afford to pay them.

    Newspapers either have to become a premium service for the rich behind paywalls or cheap free websites competing with blogs. Most are in still trouble no matter which way they choose to go. There is no guaranteed solution.

    The internet will also have significant effects on FTA and STV which will also be more interesting.

  5. Secret Squirrel

    “Smart folk those Germans”
    Not the ones who read Bild. It’s the German equivalent of The Sun, full of sensationalism, hearsay, and gossip, but with titten on the front page instead of page three.

    I do like their cars tho’.

  6. jezza the first original one

    Has anyone seen the doco about the German newspaper …? “Bild” I think. Over 9 years ago they had the foresight to introduce a paywall right from the start. They still have solid finances and still employ many journos. Visionary to say the least. Smart folk those Germans

  7. Just a final know the writing’s on the wall when Clark Kent quits the Daily Planet.Rumor is to do an online blog.Hopefully not on oz tv.

  8. Sounds interesting…and when you go digital,can you monetize online content?Was wondering..and this is not’s The Australian doing nowadays?Used to regularly use it as an online news source but since they went subscription,it too has become irrelevant,much like the paper newspaper to some.

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