The Sydney Morning Herald’s Judith Whelan [2016 Ep 18]

Judith Whelan, the new editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, talks about the paper’s 185-year-long journey, and why it has to “dance quickly” to meet audience expectations

Mediaweek visited the Fairfax office in Sydney to talk to The Sydney Morning Herald’s new editor Judith Whelan on the Friday before the title begun its 185th birthday celebrations.

“The history of The Herald is essentially the history of Sydney,” Whelan told Mediaweek.

She credited the birth of the paper for “the beginning of the exchange of ideas in a public forum.”

The 185-year-long journey for Australia’s oldest metro newspaper has been one of constant change.

As a part of this cycle, Fairfax announced 120 fulltime editorial job cuts in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this year.

“Every single media organisation in the world is having to transform itself. That transformation inevitably means that new jobs will emerge and jobs, which have been around for a long time, might disappear,” Whelan commented.

“What we are going through now is a part of that transformation.

“We have to keep changing. We have to keep adapting what our audience wants from us.”

Also discussed on the podcast:

  • How The Sydney Morning Herald’s journey is the journey of the city
  • How the audience would react to the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald printed in the style of 1831.
  • The quality v quantity debate: Does the number of journalist working for a newspaper impact the quality of a newspaper and the number of articles produced?
  • How does an editor work with the editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir?
  • Before becoming the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Whelan was the news director of the title. She talks about how her experience has helped with the new role.

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