|Owner(s)||Nine Entertainment Co.|
|Founder(s)||Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie|
|Founded||18 April 1831(as Sydney Herald)|
|Headquarters||1 Denison St, North Sydney, New South Wales|
|Readership||Total 11.03 million, Digital 10.701 million, Print 1.536 million (EMMA, March 2020)|
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily compact newspaper published in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and owned by Nine. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the Herald is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia and "the most widely-read masthead in the country." The newspaper is published in compact print form from Monday to Saturday as The Sydney Morning Herald and on Sunday as its sister newspaper, The Sun-Herald and digitally as an online site and app, seven days a week. It is considered a newspaper of record for Australia. The print edition of the Sydney Morning Herald is available for purchase from many retail outlets throughout the Sydney metropolitan area, most parts of regional New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and South East Queensland.
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 Sunday Life. There are a variety of lift-outs, some of them co-branded with online classified advertising sites:
- The Guide (television) on Monday
- Good Food (food) and Domain (real estate) on Tuesday
- Money (personal finance) on Wednesday
- Drive (motor), Shortlist (entertainment) on Friday
- News Review, Spectrum (arts and entertainment guide), Domain (real estate), Drive (motoring) and MyCareer (employment) on Saturday
The executive editor is James Chessell and the editor is Lisa Davies. Tory Maguire is national editor, Monique Farmer is life editor, and the publisher is chief digital and publishing officer Chris Janz.
Former editors include Darren Goodsir, Judith Whelan, Sean Aylmer, Peter Fray, Meryl Constance, Amanda Wilson (the first female editor, appointed in 2011), William Curnow, Andrew Garran, Frederick William Ward, Charles Brunsdon Fletcher, Colin Bingham, Max Prisk, John Alexander, Paul McGeough, Alan Revell, and Alan Oakley.
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. 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."
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.
By the mid-1960s a new competitor had appeared in Rupert Murdoch's national daily The Australian, which was first published on 15 July 1964.
In 1995, the company launched the newspaper's web edition smh.com.au. 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 later 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. 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. Fairfax also announced it would cut staff across the entire group by 1,900 over three years and erect paywalls around the papers' websites. 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. 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 management's wish for "full integration of its online, print and mobile platforms."
In July 2013 it was announced that the SMH 's news director, Darren Goodsir, would become editor-in-chief, replacing Sean Aylmer.
On 22 February 2014, the final Saturday edition was produced in broadsheet format with this too converted to compact format on 1 March 2014, ahead of the decommissioning of the printing plant at Chullora in June 2014.
Opinions vary over whether the paper is currently centrist or left wing. According to one commentator it is seen as the most centrist among the three major Australian non-tabloids (the other two being the Australian and the Age). In 2004, the newspaper's editorial page stated: "market libertarianism and social liberalism" were the two "broad themes" that guided the Herald's editorial stance. During the 1999 referendum on whether Australia should become a republic, the Herald (like the other two major papers) strongly supported a "yes" vote.
The newspaper did not endorse the Labor Party for federal office in the first six decades of Federation, but did endorse the party in 1961, 1984, and 1987. During the 2004 Australian federal election, the Herald announced it would "no longer endorse one party or another at election time" but that this policy might yet be revised in the future: "A truly awful government of any colour, for example, would bring reappraisal." In fact, astonishingly, on the eve of the 2016 federal election the paper's editor Darren Goodsir endorsed the broad policy platform of Labor leader Bill Shorten but the reelection of the Turnbull LNP government to deliver Labor's agenda. 
The Herald subsequently endorsed the centre-right Coalition at the 2007 New South Wales state election, but endorsed centre-left Labor at the 2007 and 2010 federal elections, before endorsing the Coalition at the 2013 federal elections. The Herald endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
During the 2019 election, the Herald begrudgingly endorsed Bill Shorten and the centre-left Australian Labor Party after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as PM. It is only the sixth time the Sydney Morning Herald has endorsed Labor since federation.
- Simon Letch, named as one of the year's best illustrators on four consecutive occasions.
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 privatize 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. From 10 December 2018 Nine and Fairfax Media merged into one business known as Nine. Nine Entertainment Co. owns The Sydney Morning Herald.
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 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.
The column is also sometimes affectionately known as Granny's Column, after a fictional grandmother who supposedly edited it. The column's original logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, 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, Pat Sheil, and briefly, Peter Bowers and Lenore Nicklin. The column is, as of March 2017, edited by Herald journalist Tim Barlass, who frequently appends reader contributions with puns; and who made the decision to reduce the column's publication from its traditional six days a week, down to just weekdays.
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 editor Peter Hartcher, Ross Gittins and Elizabeth Farrelly, as well as occasional reader-submitted content. Iconoclastic Sydney barrister Charles C. Waterstreet, upon whose life the television workplace comedy Rake is loosely based, had a regular humour column in this section.
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 Stephanie Wood, Jane Cadzow, Melissa Fyfe, Tim Elliott, Konrad Marshall and Amanda Hooton.
Other sections include "Modern Guru," which features humorous columnists including Danny Katz responding to the everyday dilemmas of readers; a regular column by writer Benjamin Law; a Samurai Sudoku; and "The Two of Us," containing interviews with a pair of close friends, relatives or colleagues.
"Good Weekend" is edited by Katrina Strickland. Previous editors include Ben Naparstek, Judith Whelan and Fenella Souter.
- Journalism in Australia
- List of newspapers in Australia
- The Sydney Mail – weekly magazine of The Sydney Morning Herald, published from 1860 to 1938
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- Andrea L. Everett, Humanitarian Hypocrisy: Civilian Protection and the Design of Peace Operations (Cornell University Press, 2017), p. 253: "SMH ... is also generally seen as the most politically centrist of the three largest-circulation non-tabloid newspaper [in Australia]: SMH, the Australian, and the Age)."
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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.
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- Gavin Souter (1981) Company of Heralds: a century and a half of Australian publishing by John Fairfax Limited and its predecessors, 1831-1981 Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, ISBN 0522842186
- Gavin Souter (1992) Heralds and angels: the house of Fairfax 1841-1992 Ringwood, Victoria: Penguin Books, ISBN 0140173307
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