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The Future of News Papers

The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s longest running newspaper celebrated its 175th anniversary last week. It was started by three writers from another paper, The Sydney Gazette and named after Scotland’s Glasgow Herald as the ‘Sydney Herald’. It was sold in 1841 to John Fairfax, who had fled from England due to a libel suit. Fairfax renamed it the Sydney Morning Herald in 1842.

The first edition of the paper on 18 April 1831 was a weekly and cost 7 pence (5.8 cents). It became a daily 7 years later. The current price of the SMH is $1.20 for the weekday version and $2.20 for the weekend edition. The paper’s price inflation rate over the 175 years is 1.7%pa based on the current weekday edition price. We don’t have a CPI index going back that far so can’t compare this to general inflation.

With people now clicking for news on the internet quicker than they can turn the page of the paper, the future of news in paper form is questionable. The cost of producing paper and oil price linked transport costs plus the shift of advertising revenue to the web, may make another 175 years a big ask for the SMH.

Posted Saturday, 22 April 2006

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