Fairfax announcements on new positions

22 Aug

The new positions at Fairfax have been announced, here is the email that hit SMH journos’ inboxes, national topic editors cover The Age and SMH as far as we understand UPDATE: The Age now included below:


SMH Mon-Fri Print Editor – Richard Woolveridge

Richard is a 40 year veteran of media who has spent the past 14 years working in digital media. He began as local government and crime reporter, was editor of the South London Press from 1980-90, chairman of the Guild of British Newspaper Editors from 1988-90, before moving to Australia. He is a Walkley Award winner in the headline category and was deputy chief sub and acting chief sub of the SMH before moving to digital publishing.

Heath Gilmore has been appointed Deputy Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (Mon-Fri) print edition.

SMH Saturday Print Editor -Judith Whelan

Judith has more than 25 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine journalism in Australia and Britain. She has been the Saturday editor of the Sydney Morning Herald since August last year after spending seven years as the editor of Good Weekend. Before joining Good Weekend Judith was assistant editor of the Herald, overseeing features, opinion and arts coverage. She was nominated for Walkley Awards while reporting in the transport and health rounds for the Herald.


Sun Herald Print Editor -Kate Cox

Kate has worked at Fairfax Media for 14 years including stints in the Canberra Press Gallery and as health reporter, property reporter and Olympics reporter. Kate developed S magazine and in recent years has been a regular on radio and TV. She has edited numerous sections including Travel, Sunday Metro, My Career, Tempo, Life.com mag, Fit for Life and the children’s pages. Most recently she has been the successful editor of Sunday Life.

smh.com.au Editor -Conal Hanna

Conal Hanna was a founding member of Fairfax’s brisbanetimes.com.au in 2007 and has been its Managing Editor for the past three years. Before that, he worked in newspapers and magazines, writing and editing everything from news and sport to travel, food and opinion. He has a strong commitment to innovation in journalism.

Tablet Editor -Stephen Hutcheon

Stephen has been tablet editor since December 2011. At the Herald, he has been foreign editor, China correspondent, online editor, online technology editor and national online sections editor.  A member of three Walkley Award winnings teams, Stephen has been a fellow at Harvard University’ Joan Shorenstein Centre for Press, Politics and Public Policy and has also taught online journalism at university.


News Directors

Deputy News Director (day) -Tom Allard

AM Deputy News Director AM – Liam Phillips

PM Deputy News Director PM – Tom Reilly

National Topic Editors

Entertainment – Monique Farmer

Society – Adam Morton

Life – Sue Bennett

Foreign – Connie Levett

Business – Mark Hawthorne

Food and Wine – Lisa Hudson*

Travel – Lauren Quaintance*

Drive – Toby Hagon*

Managing Editor (National) – Mark Baker*


Local Topic Editors

State – Sherrill Nixon (Sherrill will take up her position at the completion of her duties overseeing the newsroom review in late 2012)

Investigations/Feature Writers – Anne Davies

Community – Kathryn Wicks, who will be responsible for the new social media team led by Georgia Waters.

Sport – Ian Fuge*

Justice – Lisa Davies*

Domain – Stephen Nicholls*

* Incumbent

For The Age:

The Age

News Director – Steve Foley

Mon-Fri Print Editor – Mark Fuller

Saturday Age Editor – Margie Easterbrook

Sunday Age Editor – Mark Forbes

Online Editor – Daniel Sankey*

Tablet Editor – David Dick*

AM Deputy News Director – Craig Dixon

PM Deputy News Director – Dan Silkstone

Weekend Deputy News Director – Melissa Singer

State Editor – Michelle Griffin

Justice Editor – Dan Oakes

Social Media Editor – Angus Holland

Investigations/Features Editor – Graham Reilly

Community Editor – Paul Austin

Weekend Features Editor – Mary-Anne Toy

Sports Editor- Alex Lavelle*

Images Editor & Edit Operations Manager – Viki Lascaris*

Video Editor – Andrew Webster



Data-driven strategy isn’t just hyperbole

22 Aug

Karalee Evans works in digital but still has her soul as well as a passion for writing, snowboarding and politics. Working in communications, digital and strategy for the past decade (there is no way to write that without sounding old), Karalee still isn’t an expert. But she can pour a pretty mean pint. This is her fourth column for MediaRound.

Data intelligence is by no means unique to the online era or indeed the year of Big Data; historically we’ve used everything from phone surveys, door-to-door polls and even mail-in coupons to identify our audiences’ needs and address them. Of course, digital data has given us access to far more insights than ever before – but more important than the source of data is how we manage it for the best results.

It’s an understatement to say that marketers and strategists have access to more data than ever before. Not only do we have a wealth of information coming in from online analytics and behavioural tracking, we’re also privy to offline consumer data from a whole range of sources. When you add online and offline data, you have a staggering volume of information at your disposal. If not carefully managed, that volume can end up as white noise and overwhelm your strategy and tactics instead of strengthening them.

The key to successful targeting is not necessarily the volume of data being used. What usually matters most is the accuracy with which the strategist can use the available data to understand the consumers it wishes to engage with, and calibrate its tactics to do so most effectively.

The potential for targeting grows even further when you combine both online and offline data. Until recently, most strategists have struggled with incorporating offline insights into their online strategy, and vice versa. However, continuous improvements in analytics and database technologies mean that we’re increasingly able to link online data to its offline equivalents, generating even more comprehensive profiles of consumer behaviours and values in the process.

Every aspect of the intersection between humans and technology is fed by, and feeds, the collation of data. Every time you check-in on Foursquare, Tweet, ‘like’ something on Facebook, send an email, make or receive a phone call, transfer money, purchase an eBook, search for a hotel in Darwin, download an episode of GoT, purchase the latest Gaga song, read about Clams licking salt on News.com.au, watch a cat swim in a bath on YouTube…. transactional and behavioural data is the result.

For example researchers have found a spike in Google search requests for terms like “flu symptoms” and “flu treatments” a couple of weeks before there is an increase in flu patients coming to hospital emergency rooms in a region (and emergency room reports usually lag behind visits by two weeks or so). So, if you’re a strategist for a Big Pharma, you should be using this intelligence to predict supply and demand for your cold remedies and conversely if you’re a Health Prevention Director, you can predict demand for health services before the epidemic.

Data alone is not the silver bullet. It is what this data is feeding that in my opinion, is the next disruptive innovation.

Data-driven strategy is now pretty mainstream. Everyone is talking about it, and trying to do it. Big Data is one of the most widely used, and misunderstood, topics of the modern-day tech bubble. But behind the hyperbole, there are real examples of innovation that will create new markets and change the course of how industries and specialties will deliver their value proposition. And it’s driving a new value network of roles and jobs. A report last year by the McKinsey Global Institute, projected that the United States alone needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired just to sustain data-driven processes.

And when you consider this predictive power of data in fields like public health, economic development and economic forecasting, data-driven strategy is already becoming the next big disruption.

Connecting insights into both online and offline worlds lets marketers not only better target their actions, but also evaluate their results in a more comprehensive fashion. However, the sheer volume of data involved in these processes further highlights the need for a structured approach to targeting.

For their part, marketers can aim to structure available data according to business goals (like raising sales amongst a certain age group) rather than by traditional demographics. They can eliminate data not relevant to the scope of their campaign, or isolate the points which are most obviously actionable. But they need to remember that the full picture of data sometimes reveals far more than its parts. It’s a tricky balancing act between “too much” and “too little” data, especially as online and offline become increasingly interlinked. Marketers need to focus on the objectives of their campaigns to avoid being overloaded.

By bridging the gap between online and offline worlds, strategists can reach their audiences based targeted insights and not just demographic profiling. But the challenge to adopting data-driven strategy within your business is not the lack of available data; it’s whether you have invested in the skills and talent to really understand what’s meaningful and what’s just dirty data and hyperbole.

Digital First is not just a race

21 Aug

by Hugh Martin

In 2004 the night before the opening of the Athens Olympics, two Greek athletes Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were forced to withdraw from the Games after missing a doping test. It was a huge story at the time as the two were major medal hopes for the host country.

That night a bunch of Fairfax journalists were having dinner at a restaurant in the Plaka, within sight of the Parthenon, getting ready for a fortnight of olympic reporting.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s then gun reporter, Jacquelin Magnay, happened to mention to the online editor that she had got hold of the Greek athlete story ahead of her international competition and was planning on sending it to the Herald’s newsdesk when she got back to the hotel after dinner.

The online editor convinced her that the story wouldn’t hold and that it would be all over the web within no time if they didn’t get it out immediately. Magnay agreed, and together they telephoned the news editor of theage.com.au. It was 3am in Melbourne when they woke the news editor. He rolled out of bed, turned on his computer and took Magnay’s copy over the phone writing it straight on to theage.com.au and smh.com.au web sites.

Within minutes the story had hit the wires and ricocheted around the world. But Fairfax had already published.

Fast forward eight years to Adelaide 2012. As Media Watch reported last night, last week Adelaide Advertiser crime reporter Nigel Hunt had a genuine scoop about fraud in the South Australian Victim of Crime fund.

In the intervening eight years since the Athens Olympics “Digital First” has become the war cry in newsrooms around Australia (instead of merely the pleadings of online desperados).

Now there is no question of “holding stories for the paper”. But choosing the best time to publish, calculating when is the right time to maximise the exposure of a genuine exclusive – that is still an art.

Twitter and journalism – where does the reporting end?

20 Aug
  1. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees I find the line very clear, actually. No-one owns me. If it’s a paid gig, I write by the boss’ rules. Otherwise, I’m me.
  2. MargaretGees
    @stilgherrian What about journalists who aren’t freelancers and who put their work place up on their bio?
  3. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees I think it’s still easy. Is that Twitter stream part of the masthead’s journalistic output? Y/N What is the stated intent?
  4. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees Saying that you work at a news outlet is not the same as saying everything you tweet is capital-N news.
  5. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees And people have “x teacher at y” too, but not everything they tweet is expected to be a primary school class exercise.
  6. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees Just because someone works in the media (or anywhere!) they don’t lose the right to openly use new social tools in the life.
  7. MargaretGees
    @stilgherrian Yes, but their job is not reporting news and Twitter is essentially a reporting medium right?
  8. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees “Twitter is essentially a reporting medium right”? Nope. It’s just a messaging platform. Global conversations made visible.
  9. stilgherrian
    @MargaretGees That journalists and media critics continually want to turn every tweet in reportage actually shits me to tears. 🙂

Gibbons calls for more truthiness in media reporting by threat of fines

20 Aug

Taking media regulation to a new level, MP For Bendigo Steve Gibbons has called for journalists to be fined or temporarily banned for inaccurate or misleading reporting.

Gibbons  motivation seems to be his belief that the Finkelstein inquiry into media regulation does not have adequate recommendations to improve the ‘truthiness’ of  media reporting.

“In my view, fines such as these for publishing blatant untruths or misleading news reports, or temporary suspensions of the right to publish or broadcast, would lead to a major improvement in the accuracy and fairness of our media,” Gibbons said.

“So when a media outlet, journalist, or red-necked shock jock deliberately broadcasts or publishes a statement that they know is factually wrong, and it is subsequently proven that they knew it was factually wrong, they ought to be subject to an appropriate penalty.”
While he welcomed the notion of a new press regulator, he said the majority of the council’s members should be lawyers and regulators, not media professionals and explicitly not politicians (current or former). Members with media experience would be considered as long as they weren’t currently employed in the media industry.

He said misleading reporting should be commercially significant and carry similar penalties to misleading advertising.

Well, what do the pundits think?

Come to Jesus, part-time human aggregators of the crowd-sourced scrutiny machine

20 Aug

The NY Times David Carr weighs into the plagiarism/fabrication debate being played out in the US with the expose of Jonah Lehrer’s made up quotes, followed by allegations against Fareed Zakaria.

It’s a brilliant piece that breathes some sense into the debate and worth the read. Also, worth a special mention are some of his definitions which pepper the piece in characteristic style:

Columnists:  in part, human aggregators.

The Web: a crowd-sourced scrutiny machine.

Come-to-Jesus moment:  when an editor puts a journalist up against a wall and tattoos a message deep into their skull: show respect for the fundamentals of the craft, or you will soon not be part of it.

A changing of the guard…

20 Aug

In some ways it feels like the changing of the guard.

With long and established careers behind them some of Australians veteran journalists are opting for redundancies as part of the shake-up of Fairfax and News Limited. The latest is Malcolm Brown, who worked at The Sydney Morning Herald for 40 years. As part of his signing off he penned his personal story about his early disillusionment with his chosen career and his subsequent decision to stick with it.

The changes in media are starkly highlighted by Brown’s recollection on arriving in Sydney where he ” set off for Broadway to ask for a job at The Sydney Morning Herald,” and landed one. That’s certainly not a story that’s likely to be repeated in the future.

But he also had some reflections on what he hoped would not change, a journalist’s privelege and some experienced insights into the notion of objectivity:

All that is up in the air now, with the media responding to the challenge of rapidly evolving technology. The form in which the news is delivered will change. But the same principles will still apply. The concept of ”objectivity” is itself too simplistic. The reality is that everything is subjective, the very decision to report something at all, how to report it, who to interview, what to include and leave out, is a personal decision influenced by personal values. But there is still an internal compass, where a reporter knows what is fair. And there was so much that could be done positively: to take over reporting a situation, be it court case, inquest, royal commission, war, coup d’etat, or disaster, and to invite public trust in your ability to inform is truly an awesome privilege.