The Sydney Morning Herald

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 claims to be the most widely-read masthead in the country.[1] 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.[2] It is considered a newspaper of record for Australia.[3][4] 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
The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald (9 May 2016), occupied with a report on the start of the 2016 federal election campaign
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Nine Entertainment Co.
Founder(s)Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie
EditorBevan Shields
Founded18 April 1831 (1831-04-18) (as Sydney Herald)
Political alignmentCentre
Headquarters1 Denison St, North Sydney, New South Wales
Readership388,000 (Mon-Fri)
477,000 (Sat)[1]
Sister newspapers
OCLC number226369741


The Sydney Morning Herald publishes a variety of supplements, including the magazines Good Weekend (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 Mondays
  • Good Food (food) and Domain (real estate) on Tuesdays
  • Money (personal finance) on Wednesdays
  • Drive (motoring), Shortlist (entertainment) on Fridays
  • News Review, Spectrum (arts and entertainment guide), Domain (real estate), Drive (motoring) and MyCareer (employment) on Saturdays

The executive editor is James Chessell and the editor is Bevan Shields. 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),[5] William Curnow,[6] Andrew Garran, Frederick William Ward (editor from 1884 to 1890), Charles Brunsdon Fletcher, Colin Bingham, Max Prisk, John Alexander, Paul McGeough, Alan Revell, Alan Oakley, and Lisa Davies.


The cover of the newspaper's first edition, on 18 April 1831
Sydney Morning Herald building on the corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets, built 1856, demolished in the 1920s for a larger building

The Sydney Herald was founded in 1831 by three employees of the now-defunct Sydney Gazette: Ward Stephens, Frederick Stokes, and William McGarvie. A Centenary Supplement (since digitised) was published in 1931.[7] The original four-page weekly had a print run of 750. The newspaper began to publish daily in 1840, and the operation was purchased in 1841 by an Englishman named John Fairfax who renamed it The Sydney Morning Herald the following year.[8] 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."

Donald Murray, who invented a predecessor of the teleprinter, worked at the Herald during the 1890s.[9] A weekly "Page for Women" was added in 1905, edited by Theodosia Ada Wallace.[10]

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. The newspaper launched a Sunday edition, The Sunday Herald, in 1949. 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.

John Fairfax & Sons Limited commemorated the Herald's 150th anniversary in 1981 by presenting the City of Sydney with Stephen Walker's sculpture, Tank Stream Fountain.[11]

In 1995, the company launched the newspaper's web edition[12] 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.[13] After abandoning these plans later in the year, Fairfax Media again announced in June 2012 its plan to shift both broadsheet newspapers to tabloid size, with effect from March 2013.[14] Fairfax also announced it would cut staff across the entire group by 1,900 over three years and erect paywalls around the papers' websites.[15] The subscription type was to be a freemium model, limiting readers to a number of free stories per month, with a payment required for further access.[16] 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."[15]

It was announced in July 2013 that the SMH's news director, Darren Goodsir, would become editor-in-chief, replacing Sean Aylmer.[17]

On 22 February 2014, the Saturday edition was produced in broadsheet format for the final time, with this too converted to compact format on 1 March 2014,[18] ahead of the decommissioning of the printing plant at Chullora in June 2014.[19]

In June 2022, the paper received global coverage and backlash to an attempted outing of Australian actress Rebel Wilson by columnist Andrew Hornery, and the subsequent defense of his since-deleted column by editor Bevan Shields; Wilson preempted the Hornery disclosure with an Instagram post confirming her relationship.[20][21][22]

Editorial stance

The newspaper's editorial stance is generally centrist.[23] 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).[24] 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.[25] During the 1999 referendum on whether Australia should become a republic, the Herald (like the other two major papers) strongly supported a "yes" vote.[26]

The Sydney Morning Herald did not endorse the Labor Party for federal office in the first six decades of Federation, always endorsing a conservative government.[25] The newspaper endorsed Labor in only seven federal elections: 1961 (Calwell), 1984 and 1987 (Hawke), 2007 (Rudd), 2010 (Gillard),[27][28], 2019 (Shorten),[29] and 2022 (Albanese).[30]

During the 2004 Australian federal election, the Herald did not endorse a party,[25][27] but subsequently resumed its practice of making endorsements.[27] After endorsing the Coalition at the 2013[31] and 2016 federal elections,[32] the newspaper begrudgingly endorsed Bill Shorten's Labor Party in 2019, after Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister.[29]

At the state level, the Herald has consistently backed the Coalition; the only time since 1981 that it has endorsed a Labor government for New South Wales was Bob Carr's government in the 2003 election.[27]

The Herald endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[33]

Notable contributors



  • Simon Letch, named as one of the year's best illustrators on four consecutive occasions.[34][35][36][37]


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.[38] 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

Column 8 is a short column to which Herald readers send their observations of interesting happenings. It was first published on 11 January 1947.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41]

The column is also sometimes affectionately known as Granny's Column, after a fictional grandmother who supposedly edited it.[39] The column's original logo was a caricature of Sydney Deamer, originator of the column and its author for 14 years.[40][42]

It was edited for 15 years by George Richards, who retired on 31 January 2004.[39][43] 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.[43] 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.[44]


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, 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

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.


The paper has been partially digitised as part of the Australian Newspapers Digitisation Program project of the National Library of Australia.[45][46][47]

See also


  1. "The Sydney Morning Herald is the country's largest masthead". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 November 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  2. "The Sydney Morning Herald digital editions". S Media. 28 September 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2020.
  3. Simons, Margaret; Buller, Bradley (December 2013). "Journals of Record - Measure of Quality, or Dead Concept?" (PDF). Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  4. "What We're Reading". The New York Times. 14 October 2011. Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  5. Dick, Tim (11 January 2011). "Herald appoints first woman editor in its 180-year history". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. John Langdon Bonython, Address of the President, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Volume XXIV, Parts 1 and 2, 1933-34, p8.
  7. "The Sydney Morning Herald Centenary Supplement 1831 - April 18th - 1931" (PDF). The Sydney Morning Herald. 1831. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  8. "The Sydney Morning Herald | Australian newspaper". Encyclopedia Britannica. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  9. New Zealand’s Donald Murray: The Father of the Remote Typewriter, Australian Typewriter Museum, Canberra, 9 March 2012; accessed 10 March 2012
  10. Arrowsmith, Robyn (2005). "Wallace, Theodosia Ada (1872–1953)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  11. "Tank Stream Fountain | City Art Sydney". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  12. "Australian Breaking News Headlines & World News Online". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  13. Tabakoff, Nick (3 May 2007). "'Smage' journos must adapt". The Australian. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  14. Souter, Gavin (1 March 2013). "History makes way for compact future". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  15. Zappone, Chris (18 June 2012). "Fairfax to shed 1900 staff, erect paywalls". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  16. Simpson, Kirsty (18 June 2012). "Fairfax moves to 'freemium' model". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  17. "New Sydney Morning Herald Editor-in-Chief announced". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  18. Homewood, Sarah (28 January 2014). "Fairfax to complete transition to compact". The Newspaper Works. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  19. Elliot, Tim (7 June 2014). "Full stop for Chullora print plant after 19 years". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  20. Meade, Amanda (17 June 2022). "Bad press: the Rebel Wilson debacle that rocked SMH to its core". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  21. Meade, Amanda (13 June 2022). "'Our reputation is trashed': anonymous staffer criticises SMH management over Rebel Wilson coverage". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  22. Shepherd, Tory (14 June 2022). "Whoopi Goldberg joins international backlash over Sydney Morning Herald's treatment of Rebel Wilson". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  23. Irial Glynn (2016). Asylum Policy, Boat People and Political Discourse: Boats, Votes and Asylum in Australia and Italy. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 2, 10. ISBN 978-1-137-51733-3. the generally centrist Syndey Morning Herald
  24. 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)."
  25. "Editorial: It's time for a vote of greater independence". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 October 2004. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
  26. Mark McKenna, "The Australian Republic: Still Captive After All These Years" in Constitutional Politics: The Republic Referendum and the Future (eds. John Warhurst & Malcolm Mackerras: (University of Queensland Press, 2002), p. 151.
  27. Lisa Davies, Why the Herald does editorials and why they can be controversial, Sydney Morning Herald (March 27, 2019).
  28. "Editorial: The more they stay the same …". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 November 2007. Archived from the original on 9 December 2007. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  29. Meade, Amanda (17 May 2019). "NT News breaks ranks as only News Corp paper to endorse Bill Shorten". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  30. View, The Herald's (19 May 2022). "Why the Morrison government does not deserve another term". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  31. "Editorial: Australians deserve a government they can trust". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 September 2013. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  32. Fergus Hunter, Federal election 2016: Daily newspapers unanimously back Turnbull Coalition, Sydney Morning Herald (July 1, 2016).
  33. "Donald Trump should quit presidential race". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 10 October 2016. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  34. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons". National Museum of Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  35. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons". National Museum of Australia. 2008. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  36. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons". National Museum of Australia. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  37. "Behind the lines. Year's best political cartoons". National Museum of Australia. 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  38. Ruth Park (1999). Ruth Park's Sydney. Duffy & Snellgrove. ISBN 978-1-875989-45-4.
  39. "26.19 Granny George calls it a day" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (26): 5. February 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  40. "8.37 Changes in the Herald: Who will make me smile before breakfast?" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (8): 17–18. August 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  41. "41.26 Has the world gone mad? Column 8 at 60" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (41): 8. February 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  42. Souter, Gavin (1983). "Deamer, Sydney Harold (1891–1962)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 15 January 2008. Moving to the Sydney Morning Herald, from 1947 to 1961 Deamer was founding editor of 'Column 8', a daily, front-page feature of miscellaneous paragraphs under a symbolic drawing of 'Granny Herald' whose waspish features bore a resemblance to his own. He retired in February 1961.
  43. Ramsey, Alan (4 February 2004). "George has moved on but his Granny still lives". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  44. "32.31 Column 8 Changes Style" (PDF). Australian Newspaper History Group Newsletter (32). May 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008. 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.
  45. "Newspaper and magazine titles". Trove. National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  46. "Newspaper Digitisation Program". National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  47. 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

  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 314–19
  • 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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