The Sydney Morning Herald

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Sydney Morning Herald masthead

The Sydney Morning Herald is one of the most prestigious and important newspapers in Australia, published daily in Sydney, the largest city in Australia. It is also the oldest newspaper in Australia still in existence, being continually published since 1831. Over 51,000 editions have been produced since then. The Sunday edition is known as the Sun-Herald.



The Sydney Morning Herald is generally perceived to be more sober, socially and politically progressive, and appealing to a more affluent demographic than its main competitor (and the only other daily newspaper in Sydney) - the conservative Murdoch-owned tabloid The Daily Telegraph. Whether this is true is highly subjective and a matter for debate, as several of the paper's leading journalists, particularly Miranda Devine and Gerard Henderson are well known for their strongly conservative views. In previous times however, it was noted for conservatism, perhaps reflective of its demographic.

Its circulation is smaller than the Telegraph; according to circulation data published in the first half of 2004, the Herald sells about 221,000 copies per day compared to around 409,000 copies of the Telegraph. The Saturday editions of both papers are more closely matched. The Herald sells 375,000 copies to the Telegraph's 345,000. The Saturday edition of the Herald carries a massive classified section - a popular selling point and a powerful source of cash revenue for the company. In the coverage of Fairfax's business affairs, this classified revenue has often been referred to as "rivers of gold". Like The Age, the demographics of its readers are more attractive to many advertisers than its tabloid competitor.

The Sydney Morning Herald publishes a number of daily sections, as large-format magazines, some of which have been part of the newspaper's infrastructure for more than two decades. They currently include a motoring section, Drive, a food and lifestyle section, Good Living, a property section, Domain, and a television section, The Guide. It also produces two colour magazines, the weekly Good Weekend, and the monthly the(sydney)magazine. The cryptic crossword in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age is popular.

Unlike most newspapers in Australia, the Herald is a broadsheet, meaning that each page is approximately A2 in size. Tabloid newspapers, such as its competitor The Daily Telegraph are considerably smaller, with each page having a size of approximately A3.


The Sydney Morning Herald began its life as a weekly newspaper, the Sydney Herald. It only had four pages and a circulation of 750 copies. The paper was named after Scotland's Glasgow Herald, and was founded by three Englishmen, Alfred Stephens, Frederick Stokes and William McGarvie.

A decade later it was bought by John Fairfax, whose family owned the newspaper for 149 years. It became a daily newspaper in 1840, and in 1842 changed its name to The Sydney Morning Herald. Its editorial policies were based "upon principles of candour, honesty and honour. We have no wish to mislead; no interest to gratify by unsparing abuse or indiscriminate approbation."

The Sydney Morning Herald is still owned by John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd, though it is no longer controlled by the Fairfax family. Fairfax-family control of the newspaper ended on December 11, 1990.

The company also owns The Sun-Herald, a Sunday newspaper, in Sydney, The Age and The Sunday Age in Melbourne, The Illawarra Mercury in Wollongong, The Newcastle Herald in Newcastle and The Dominion Post in Wellington.

The company also owns a stable of business publications, including the national daily business newspaper The Australian Financial Review, and the magazines BRW, BOSS, Shares, Personal Investor and Asset.


Prominent columnists and journalists who write for The Sydney Morning Herald include Margo Kingston, Robert Manne, Doug Anderson, Paul Sheehan, Anthony Dennis, Mark Riley, Miranda Devine, Robin Oliver, Adele Horin, Michael Idato, Julia Baird, Mike Carlton, Jon Casimir, Gerard Henderson, Alan Ramsey, Peter FitzSimons, Roy Masters, Maggie Alderson, Richard Glover and Kirsty Needham.

The Sydney Morning Herald is the only Australian newspaper to have a published code of ethics, designed to ensure the newspaper's reporting staff "report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts", impartiality, fairness and using "fair, honest and responsible means to obtain material" and independence, in that the newspaper will not allow "advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence, or to influence the nature of the Herald's coverage." A copy of the ethics policy can be found at the newspaper's website (see external links section).

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