The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

 newspaper published by Fairfax Media
Fairfax Media
Fairfax Media Limited is one of Australia's largest diversified media companies. The group's operations include newspapers, magazines, radios and digital media operating in Australia and New Zealand. Fairfax Media was founded by the Fairfax family as John Fairfax and Sons, later to become John...

 in Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, 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
The Sun-Herald
The Sun-Herald is an Australian tabloid newspaper published on Sundays in Sydney by Fairfax Media. It is the Sunday counterpart of The Sydney Morning Herald. In the 6 months to September 2005, The Sun-Herald had a circulation of 515,000...

, 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.

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
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is an Australian market research company headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria; it was founded in 1941 by Roy Morgan ; its Executive Chairman today is his son, Gary Morgan....

 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. The Audit Bureau of Circulations
Audit Bureau of Circulations
The Audit Bureau of Circulations of North America is a non-profit circulation-auditing organization. It is one of several organizations, operating in different parts of the world, that audits circulation, readership, and audience information for the magazines, newspapers, and other publications...

 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.

The editor is Amanda Wilson. Former editors include Frederick William Ward
Frederick William Ward
Frederick William Ward was an Australian journalist, newspaper editor and Methodist minister.Ward was born in New Zealand the fourth son of the Rev. Robert Ward, a Primitive Methodist clergyman and was sent to Brisbane, Australia around 1867 as a Methodist minister...

, Charles Brunsdon Fletcher, Colin Bingham, Max Prisk, John Alexander, Paul McGeough
Paul McGeough
Paul McGeough is an Irish Australian journalist and senior foreign correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald, specialising in Middle Eastern affairs....

, Alan Revell, Alan Oakley
Alan Oakley
Alan Oakley is an English-born journalist.Oakley worked as a journalist for the London Daily Express, before emigrating to Australia in 1985, to work for the Sydney Daily Telegraph. He later edited the Herald Sun in Melbourne, and The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney, before working as a media and public...

 and Peter Fray.


Three employees of the now-defunct Sydney Gazette
Sydney Gazette
The Sydney Gazette was the first newspaper in Australia. Governor King authorised the publication of what was initially called 'The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1803. Subsequently the first edition was published 5 March...

, Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie
William McGarvie
William McGarvie was a Scottish-born bookseller and newspaper owner, active in New South Wales.McGarvie was born in Glasgow and worked on the Glasgow Herald; he followed his brother John McGarvie to New South Wales in 1828 aboard the Comet...

, 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
John Fairfax
John Fairfax , English-born journalist, is notable for the incorporation of the major newspapers of modern day Australia.-Early life:...

 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
The West Australian
The West Australian is the only locally-edited daily newspaper published in Perth, Western Australia, and is owned by ASX-listed Seven West Media . The West is published in tabloid format, as is the state's other major newspaper, The Sunday Times, a News Limited publication...

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
Chullora, New South Wales
Chullora, a suburb of local government areas City of Bankstown and the Municipality of Strathfield, is located 15 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the state of New South Wales, Australia, and forms a part of the Greater Western Sydney region.-History:The suburb of...

, 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
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

, for both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Fairfax Media dumped these plans later in the year without explanation, to the amusement of The Australian
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

Chris Mitchell
Chris Mitchell
Chris Mitchell is an Australian journalist and is editor-in-chief of The Australian. He began his career on the former afternoon tabloid, The Telegraph, in 1973 and after working on The Townsville Bulletin, The Daily Telegraph and the Australian Financial Review, became editor of The Australian in...

, who called the about-face "a bit embarrassing".

Political viewpoint

Historically, the SMH has been a conservative newspaper as evidenced by the fact that it did not endorse the Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 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
Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change...

" (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." The Herald subsequently endorsed the conservative Coalition
Coalition (Australia)
The Coalition in Australian politics refers to a group of centre-right parties that has existed in the form of a coalition agreement since 1922...

 at the 2007 NSW State election, but endorsed Labor at the 2007 and 2010 Federal elections.

Notable contributors

  • Malcolm Brown
    Malcolm Brown (Australian journalist)
    Malcolm Craig Brown is an Australian journalist, editor and the co-author of books dealing with crime, forensic science, disasters and the Vietnam War.-Early life:...

  • Mike Cockerill
    Mike Cockerill
    Michael Cockerill is an Australian football journalist who writes for Fairfax newspapers, Fox Sports and formerly C7 Sport. He is also a football pundit, match commentator and appears regularly on the football show Fox Sports FC.- External links :*...

  • Anne Davies
    Anne Davies (Australian journalist)
    Anne Davies was a Washington correspondent for Australian newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.- Biography :She is an alumna of SCEGGS Darlinghurst, an inner-city school for girls in Sydney, Australia.- Career :...

  • Peter FitzSimons
    Peter FitzSimons
    Peter John FitzSimons AM is an Australian journalist and author, based in Sydney. He is a former radio presenter and national representative rugby union player.-Early life:...

  • Ross Gittins
    Ross Gittins
    Ross Gittins AM is an Australian political and economic journalist and author.-Early Life and Education:Ross Roderick Gittins was born 13 February 1948 in Newcastle, New South Wales where his family were living at New Lambton. His parents, Salvation Army officers moved to Sydney and Ross started...

  • Peter Hartcher
    Peter Hartcher
    Peter Hartcher is an Australian journalist and the Political and International Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. He is also a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based foreign policy think tank.-Career:...

  • Gerard Henderson
    Gerard Henderson
    Gerard Henderson is a conservative Australian newspaper columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.. He is also Executive Director of the Sydney Institute, a privately funded current affairs forum. His wife Anne Henderson is Deputy Director.-Education:Henderson attended the Jesuit Xavier College in...

  • Adele Horin
  • David Marr
    David Marr (journalist)
    David Ewan Marr is an Australian journalist, author, and progressive political and social commentator. His areas of expertise include the law, Australian politics, censorship, the media and the arts...

  • Roy Masters
  • Paul Sheehan
    Paul Sheehan (journalist)
    Paul Sheehan is a conservative Australian columnist and senior writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, where he has been day editor, chief of staff and Washington correspondent...


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
Warwick Fairfax
Warwick Fairfax is an Australian businessman who had tried unsuccessfully to privatise his family's media company Fairfax Media in 1987. He successfully took over the company but on 10 December 1990 the company collapsed and a receiver was appointed...

, great-great-grandson of John Fairfax, attempted to privatise the group by borrowing $1.8 billion. The group was bought by Conrad Black
Conrad Black
Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, OC, KCSG, PC is a Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords, and a historian, columnist and publisher, who was for a time the third largest newspaper magnate in the world. Lord Black controlled Hollinger International, Inc...

 before being re-listed in 1992. In 2006, Fairfax announced a merger with Rural Press
Rural Press
Rural Press Limited was an Australian media company which owned approximately 170 newspaper and magazine titles, The Canberra Times being the most prominent. These were predominantly in rural Australia, though it also owned a number of agricultural publications in the United States and New Zealand...

, which brought a Fairfax family member, John B. Fairfax, in as a significant player in the company.

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. The name comes from the fact that it originally occupied the final (8th) column of the broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

 newspaper's front page. In a front-page redesign in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympic Games
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 in 2000, Column 8 moved to the back page of the first section from 31 July 2000.

The content tends to the quirky, typically involving strange urban occurrences, instances of confusing signs (often in Engrish
refers to unusual forms of English language usage by native speakers of some East Asian languages. The term itself relates to Japanese speakers' tendency to inadvertently substitute the English phonemes "R" and "L" for one another, because the Japanese language has one alveolar consonant in place...

), word play
Word play
Word play or wordplay is a literary technique in which the words that are used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of intended effect or amusement...

, and discussion of more or less esoteric topics.

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. The logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer
Sydney Deamer
Sydney Harold Deamer was a newspaper journalist, an editor and soldier.The son of Adrian Milford and Rhoda Deamer, Sydney Deamer was born on December 1, 1891 at Avondale Square, Old Kent Road, London...

, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on 31 January 2004. Other editors besides Deamer and Richards have been Duncan Thompson, Bill Fitter, Col Allison, Jim Cunningham, and briefly, Peter Bowers
Peter Bowers (Australian journalist)
Peter Bowers was an Australian journalist. He was awarded the Walkley Award in 1982 for the most outstanding contribution to journalism.-Obituaries:**...

 and Lenore Nicklin. The column is currently edited by Pat Sheil.


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
The Age
The Age is a daily broadsheet newspaper, which has been published in Melbourne, Australia since 1854. Owned and published by Fairfax Media, The Age primarily serves Victoria, but is also available for purchase in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and border regions of South Australia and...

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
Mark Dapin
-Writing career:From 1998 to 2002, Dapin was editor and then editor-in-chief of Ralph magazine. He has written for a variety of publications including The Australian Financial Review, Meanjin and Good Weekend...

, Janet Hawley, Amanda Hooton, John van Tiggelen and Greg Bearup
Greg Bearup
Greg Bearup is an Australian journalist, author and international election expert. He currently a feature writer at the Good Weekend magazine which is distributed with both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Saturdays.-Career:...


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
Danny Katz (columnist)
Danny Katz is a Canadian-born, Jewish Australian columnist and author who writes for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. His columnn is also syndicated in The West Australian. He is the Modern Guru in the Good Weekend magazine.-External links:*** * * ****...

 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
The Australian
The Australian is a broadsheet newspaper published in Australia from Monday to Saturday each week since 14 July 1964. The editor in chief is Chris Mitchell, the editor is Clive Mathieson and the 'editor-at-large' is Paul Kelly....

and The Sun-Herald
The Sun-Herald
The Sun-Herald is an Australian tabloid newspaper published on Sundays in Sydney by Fairfax Media. It is the Sunday counterpart of The Sydney Morning Herald. In the 6 months to September 2005, The Sun-Herald had a circulation of 515,000...

newspapers as well as the (sydney) magazine in The Sydney Morning Herald which is distributed once per month.

External links

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