Global Mail announces Attard’s exit, replaced by Jane Nicholls

monica attardglobal mail logoPhilanthropically funded publishing venture The Global Mail has parted ways with founding editor Monica Attard just three months after launch, the organisation confirmed tonight.

Attard’s departure came after reports of disagreements between her and founder Graeme Woods. CEO Jane Nicholls has been named as interim editor.

Global Mail is an ambitious project funded by Wood to the tune of $15m, the largest project of its type ever seen in Australia. Woods made his fortune through travel site wotif.

The short statement from The Global Mail said:

“The Global Mail announced today that Monica Attard, having served as founding Managing Editor for the conception and launch phase of The Global Mail, will be leaving the publication.

“The Global Mail chairman Graeme Wood thanked Monica for her tremendous assistance and vision in the start-up phase of the organisation’s development.

“CEO of The Global Mail, Jane Nicholls, will step in as interim editor.”

Attard is a previous long time ABC staffer.

The Global Mail has so far had a relatively low impact in terms of breaking agenda-setting stories despite a staff of around 20.

The organisation has not released any data about its traffic.

Although the free online audience estimate service Alexa offers only crude data, it suggests that The Global Mail was struggling even compared to independent publishers, barely registering on the graph.

alexa global mail

Audio: Attard discusses the launch of Global Mail on the Mumbrellacast:



  1. Narelle Hanratty
    8 May 12
    9:51 pm

  2. The layout of The Global Mail does not work well. The horizontal scrolling feels makeshift, and it’s counter to most other sites. Images also take up too much of the screen space.

  3. Tony Healy
    8 May 12
    10:29 pm

  4. Sad for Attard, but the whole operation seems very 1990s to me. Back then media and big ad agencies thought the web was just another part of the production department.

    On top of that, they’ve got television reporters trying to do print journalism, which they’re usually not good at.

    If it’s going to succeed, it needs radical reshaping.

  5. Anonymous person
    8 May 12
    11:37 pm

  6. Alexa is general relative and the red line looks accurate enough.

    In the long term start up phase it isn’t anything to cry about and strong engagement is only grown over time.

    I must admit though, I just clicked through to the Global Mail for the first time and was totally lost as to where I could go and what I could see. Too many photo’s at the top and the sign posting was all over the show. I am sure this can be tightened up and I love the content and what they are trying to achieve.

    My 10 cents on UX:
    Think of the links and buttons of your website as signs around a city. Where do they need to be placed and how easy is it for people to see them and understand them.

    10 cents over…

  7. Anonymous person
    8 May 12
    11:38 pm

  8. generally*

  9. Python
    9 May 12
    7:12 am

  10. The Mail will Fail as long as it has anyone who leans too much to one side. Fairness and balance is what it should be and pushing an agenda will always only appeal to a minority. Lets face it, just about anyone who works or has worked for the ABC over the last few years is utterly mentally incapable of producing balanced reporting. For example, anyone who has a different opinion about Global Warming is described as a ‘denier’ and either overtly or subtly described as a fool who doesn’t understand the science. They have NEVER been given a fair and balanced chance to present their side on the ABC without being ridiculed.
    Bye Bye Monica. So, who’s your next choice eh?

  11. CC
    9 May 12
    8:17 am

  12. No doubt global mail has struggled to gain traffic, which is a real problem when your only agenda is your audience.

    They should fix the layout and UI and make it more open to audience commentary.
    Hmmm – kinda like the conversation without such an academic slant, or even this very website..

    Sorry to say this, but the reach figures for mumbrella are grossly over represented n alexa when compared with Crikey and other Australian websites. Try using Google adplanner, it tends to underestimate figures, but is more accurate than alexa. It’s not so easy to embed a graph in a story though…

    Google Adplanner Worldwide Unique visitors (users) pulled 9/5/12

    mumbrella: 63K
    crikey: 130K
    theconversation: 70K
    theglobalmail: 14K

    and for relevance 30K 18K

  13. Me
    9 May 12
    8:45 am

  14. Plug TorrentFreak into that graph and see how lucrative pandering to the masses on piracy is.

    Two man operation on par with The Age.

  15. Amanda
    9 May 12
    8:56 am

  16. What do you expect from a Left-leaning publication? When will people understand that most people are conservative by nature and don’t want to be preached to by the Left? This publication is not balanced in any way. Even CNN is finding out that their brand is in the bin due to their Left views pushed a being balanced. People are not stupid. Mr Woods made his fortune building up a company and has used his wealth to push his ideology – which almost no one agrees with. So much for trying to sway public opinion via the media!

  17. mumbrella
    9 May 12
    9:21 am

  18. HI CC,

    Thanks for those. To your point on AdPlanner understating, our internal Google Analytics currently lists our worldwide monthly uniques at 211,000.

    But of course, it’s conversations like this that underline the need for an audited currency. We’ve signed up to the Audit Bureau and our audited monthly uniques (Australian only) are 124,000 for April. Crikey is listed as 296,000.

    Link here:


    Tim – Mumbrella

  19. mumbrella
    9 May 12
    9:23 am

  20. Update: The Conversation shares the following data with me on its current audience:

    Google Analytics monthly stats:

    Uniques: 314,658
    Visits: 517,104
    PVs: 978,692


    Tim – Mumbrella

  21. CC
    9 May 12
    9:49 am

  22. Hi Tim,

    Sorry – I should have used the Unique Visitors (cookies) values my post above, they are roughly double the Unique Visitors (users) figures quoted and more closely align with your ABA and GA figures.


  23. Shane Dowling
    9 May 12
    10:26 am

  24. Their site is too hard to navigate. It will turn a lot of people off. Almost everyone is trained to the standard format which everyone from Mumbrella, Crikey, SMH, News and almost every site on the net use. Up and down not left to right scrolling. The subscribe button is hard to find which will hinder their audience growth. Unless they have a major overhaul of the site they will struggle.
    Remember they are up against a lot of specialised bloggers who are growing fast which means there is no place for amateur night for websites like The Global Mail. When I say “amateur night” I do not mean their writers, it is the layout of their site and marketing that is letting them down. But they are only new and have plenty of cash so they have the time and resources to fix their problems

  25. robbo
    9 May 12
    10:46 am

  26. Hah. Left-loving clap-trap getting its just desserts.

    Monica’s next move would logically be Labor preselection, but not sure that’s a sound long-term career move… (sound of more laughter)

  27. J.H.
    9 May 12
    1:45 pm

  28. What does the Herald Sun get in the way of hits? Surely that must be the Gold Standard…. after all Andrew Bolt’s blog alone gets over 3 million hits a month.

    My piece of advice to the Global Mail is this. If you are going to allow debate, then allow it to move freely in the direction that the commenter’s are taking it…. Stop censoring them and stop dictating to them….. If the Mail’s only thought is propaganda…. Then Mr Woods had better have deep pockets and millions to throw away.

  29. Notmyrealname
    9 May 12
    3:42 pm

  30. Mega rich, albeit well meaning, person used to getting their own way, partners with stubborn, strong minded journalist.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    ‘hope they salvage something from the wreckage. It was rather good.

  31. Graham
    9 May 12
    4:32 pm

  32. Agree with much of the above, especially the counter-intuitive left-to-right scrolling. Why reinvent the wheel when the rest of the world goes up and down?

    Some of it is just too bloody earnest. They badly need light and shade and some clever chuckle-inducing pieces. Life’s miserable already without a constant diet of environmental hazards and western imperialist outrages in places we’ve never heard of and care about even less. But you should care! Yes, I know, but I don’t.

    The stable of writers contains too many lofty and intense print types, left wing ABC types churning out dull TV prose or youthful Robert Fisk wannabes trekking through Turkmenistan or bar-crawling in BA.

    But the worst of it is that as far as I know, they have never broken a story that’s made it into the mainstream media. How can you spend that much money and not get an occasional scoop?

    I’d venture that’s why the otherwise admirable Monica has departed. A great interviewer but ultimately a poor editor because she produced the kind of earnest, socially responsible material she wanted to read, not the rest of us.

  33. JD
    9 May 12
    6:11 pm

  34. I agree Graham.

    While I respect The Global Mail’s efforts at publishing hard news stories, they could have at least peppered the content with something silly, satirical or sexy. But they are not alone in their earnestness … when was the last time anyone in the Australian press really took the piss?

    Most Australian media is trapped in a largely hokey, old-fashioned paradigm. Look at who still appears on our screens and in our papers? George Negus, Mike Carlton, Kerri Anne Kennerly … it’s a time warp. The “daggy” angle on most stories and worship of celebrity chefs and restaurants means Australian readers now flock to overseas websites to read contemporary journalism.

  35. Dave
    9 May 12
    6:20 pm

  36. @ Amanda #8

    I think you’ll find most people aren’t conservative if you examine their expectations about the role of government in our society.

    But thank you for spinning us the Fox News line…

  37. Peter
    9 May 12
    6:26 pm

  38. I count about 23 staff on their voices page. Say they’re on $100K average salary, that’s $2.3 million a year without any other expenses or oncosts.

    I fear they will burn through $15 million fairly quickly.

    What they need is some publicity and some ads to drive traffic to the website.

    I didn’t even know they existed..

    I had a read of a few items yesterday from Bernard Lagan including a fascinating article about alleged sexual harrasment at the Commonwealth Bank where the accusing women lost in court and was torn apart on her credibility by the judge.

    mr lagan also had a interesting article about the A380 troubles – from back in February.

    The site needs a massive reworking. It’s too hard to find things and like everyone else the navigation is woeful.

    I’d ask the web design agency for a refund – it’s a dogs breakfast

  39. David of Brisbane
    9 May 12
    7:04 pm

  40. Cut your losses Mr Wood and close the whole kit and carboodle down. The Left view is defunct in this day and age, even your heroes called it quits in the 1990’s.
    Had to be one of the worse websites in donkey’s years. Come back when you accept climate change and global warming is a load of cobblers and a gigantic fraud against the honest people of the world.

  41. Narelle Hanratty
    9 May 12
    10:39 pm

  42. What we’re missing in Australian publications is not silliness or satire or chuckles or balance; it’s people willing to enquire and write with real power and courage. People who really have something at stake. That’s sexy.

  43. Matt
    12 May 12
    6:46 am

  44. Such staggering ignorance. It’s not rocket science; electronic media has dramatically reduced literacy over the last 90 years. Not helped by the ongoing failure of public education to focus on literacy, or the almost compete lack of it.

    And employing your friends, rather than competence, is a death knell. How could anyone have failed to notice just how LOUSY the photographic editing of the Herald was in recent years? If there were 3 stories on Qantas in a week, you got the same DISMAL photo 3 times in a week. Truly appallingly bad work.