The Encore Interview with Jack Matthews – CEO of Fairfax Metro Media

Jack MatthewsJack Matthews is the CEO of Fairfax metro media and has recently overseen the move of the publisher’s key brands The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to compact size. In a video interview that first appeared in Encore, Matthews speaks to Tim Burrowes.


Jack Matthews on the Fairfax move to compact, what took them so long, the work behind the scenes to make it happen, what it cost and whether consumers are more likely to pay for broadsheet or compact.



Matthews on how Fairfax will judge the success of the compact using ‘softer metrics’, whether the day will come when there are no longer daily print editions and how important advertisers are in the changing model of newspapers.



Matthews talks about the uptake for Fairfax’s tablet apps and whether people are willing to pay for tablet content.



Matthews explains the forthcoming metered paywall and preventing people from getting around the wall.


Matthews talks about the brand of The Sydney Morning Herald online versus the digital masthead, the bringing together of the Fairfax newsrooms and their differing cultures.


Matthews on whether he fears The Guardian’s move Down Under, his next move career wise and his plans to hand over the reins.


Encore issue 5

This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.


  1. Thoughtful
    13 Mar 13
    4:59 pm

  2. Good interview, Tim. And good that you broke it up into chunks – much easier to dip into interesting bits. It’s just a shame that the Fairfax papers/sites aren’t as thoughtful, informative and articulate as Mr Matthews.

  3. Spin
    14 Mar 13
    8:51 am

  4. @thoughtful: i suppose you mean this is 100% spin?

  5. Thoughtful
    14 Mar 13
    10:41 am

  6. @Spin: spin is expected. It’s a shame that intelligent people don’t want to produce high quality output. My guess is that these people all read The Guardian, NYT, Economist, Watch/listen to the BBC and etc. But don’t/won’t/can’t aspire to produce similar quality locally.

  7. Spiel
    15 Mar 13
    11:39 am

  8. Yes, I thought so. They talk about things that they don’t actually do. Which is why I’m reading The New York Times and The Economist (with Laura Tingle and Kate McClymont as my local faves in a pond over-populated with barking frogs).