The man who wiped the smile off his own face

nathaniel baneIf there’s one man who’s having a tough morning in the office, it’s Nathaniel Bane, assistant editor of paid content for the Herald Sun in Melbourne.

Poor Nathaniel is single handedly running a breaking news blog around the title’s move to a paywall which went live today. And fair to say, he’s taking a kicking. Not just because the readers are less than delighted at being asked to pay for something they’ve got used to getting for free.

But also, because readers claimed he was smiling too much in his byline picture. So much so that he bowed to online pressure and changed it to a glummer picture.   

A sample of the early comments:

Comment From p lalor

very messy difficult to navigate. I’ll try a little longer and then dump if nothing improves.

Comment From Adrian

With your new website, how come I am no longer able t read full opinion articles like I used to? I don’t understand why I should have to pay for a pass for something that I have always been able to access for free before. As I don’t curently live in Australia, this website was a good way for me to stay in touch with what was happening back home. If I can’t access the content that I want I may have to look elsware.

Comment From Tim

Sorry, but I prefer the old version, why fix something that aint broke?

Comment From Pete

Typical greed. I for one, will never buy the ‘digital pass’ or the actual paper again. There are plenty of other better, free news websites out there. Just a shame that the Herald Sun has chosen to choose dollar signs over customer satisfaction.

Comment From Guest

Are you telling me I now have to pay to read this website?

Comment From Mick

You sport section has slipped lately. It used to be good but I prefer The Age now. Sorry

Comment From Laura

The fact that I can no longer read all the articles available without creating a log in means I probably won’t bother anymore with Herald Sun. Sorry!

Comment From Guest

don’t like it old 1 was better

Comment From Peggy

I think the new website looks amazing. I liked the old one, but this one is very elegant.

Comment From Bye Bye Herald Sun

Why change something that was fine in the first place? The new layout is clumsy, hard to navigate and too busy. Looks like I will be reading from theage website from now on. Big let down Herald Sun. Very dissapointing. And don’t bother with your generic “thanks, BUT” reply either. You have lost a reader.

Comment From Wendy

So now we can’t see story video without subscribing. Or more than the basic story – any more details have to be paid for ( after freetime has ended ) What a rip off. Herald Sun WAS my favourite online newspaper – NOT NOW. What a blatant money grab.

Comment From What a joke

2.95 a week to read the news on the internet? You guys are a joke. Wipe that smug look off your face Nathaniel. You aren’t impressing anyone.

Nathaniel Bane: Hi What a Joke. Sorry about my smile, it’s pretty ordinary i know. It’s 2.95 for the full digital pass, which gets you the iPad app, full access to the mobile site, and full access to our SuperFooty Live HQ which swings into full operation when the season starts.

It has live SuperCoach scores and more, which our massive army of SuperCoach fans have been asking for a very, very long time now.

To provide all of these new features and journalism takes investment at our end – good, quality journalism can not be produced for free and we want to make sure that the Herald Sun – the voice of Victoria for such a long time – continues to thrive into the future.

Comment From Barbara

As a pensioner $2.95 is a price I can ill afford. It is a shame as I looked forward to browsing the news each day and reading and adding comments to the news. I do love the new format but will be forced to miss out when the free trial is over.

Comment From gerard keogh

as jeff buckley said-this is my last goodbye, see ya on media watch

Comment From Robert Robertson

Let me try this one last time. I have now submitted 6 comments, none of which have been posted. I specifically want you to wipe that smug look off your face, and to let you know that you have lost a viewer

Nathaniel Bane: Sorry Robert, second person who says i have a smug look – seems i better find a different picture …. ive gone back and can’t see your other comments – please submit again and I will take a look, apologies again

Comment From Billy the Kid

How about you wipe that half cocked smile off your lousy mug and put the website back to it’s original format?

Nathaniel Bane: Ok, my smile is really annoying people … time to change my avatar

Nathaniel Bane: Ok, new avatar – hopefully i don’t look so smug ….

Dr Mumbo gives Nathaniel credit. He’s kept it cordial and answered all of the critics individually. Maybe somebody could go and post some nice things now, just to cheer up his morning.


  1. Craig
    12 Mar 12
    1:30 pm

  2. Sorry, I am taking a digital pass on the Herald Sun

  3. Gotcha
    12 Mar 12
    2:22 pm

  4. News Ltd has made plenty of mileage out of bashing politicians who supposedly don’t understand the pressures that everyday people facing with the “rising cost of living”. Eg: the carbon tax. reducing welfare entitlements for people earning over $150K, medicare rebate, petrol prices, etc. In fact, the News Ltd papers have actively encouraged people to be angry every time the cost of something goes up. I guess it’s time for the Hun to reap what it has sown ..

  5. Neil Stollznow
    12 Mar 12
    2:27 pm

  6. It’s kinda amusing that people complain about the cost of something they used to pay for daily, then got free, and now are being asked to pay for again – but a lot less than they would have in a print version.

    Free online news cannot exist forever but there is going to be some pain in the transition!

  7. beezlebub
    12 Mar 12
    4:30 pm

  8. Nathaniel good on you you’re a champ

    the comments stream does however confirm that many Hun readers are morons

  9. Dan
    12 Mar 12
    11:37 pm

  10. It’s a bit weird that people can’t have an opinion against what the Sun is doing without making personal cracks to the poor guy whose job it is to flog it. It’s not like he’s the one that has made the business decision. Screw the paper, I won’t bother now, it’s not the price it’s the damn annoying login. I had a free digital pass for The Australian and it was just a nuisance, even while free.

    As for Nathaniel, good for you, you sound like a pretty decent bloke.

  11. Campbell Fuller
    13 Mar 12
    8:22 am

  12. The Herald Sun online carries – say – 500 stories a day, seven days a week.
    That means access to each story costs the online reader less than .0008c.
    Journalism is expensive. Online access is not.

  13. Jon
    14 Mar 12
    5:17 pm

  14. I might consider paying if I could be guaranteed an ad free experience.

    It’s hard to imagine the paper can’t turn a profit from advertising revenue – so why are readers now forced to pay? Especially in a world where there’s an abundance of free news elsewhere.

  15. Terribla
    17 Mar 12
    10:45 am

  16. I will digital pass up the Herald Sun hun!