Daily Telegraph is a product of the Sydney it serves, says News Corp editorial chief

campbell reid

The robust stance taken by News Corp’s Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph is driven by the character of the city writes for, the company’s group editorial director has argued.

Campbell Reid, also a former editor of The Tele and The Australian, made the argument at a debate on the nature of the real Sydney organised by Mumbrella.

Asked about how editors develop an understanding of an audience, he pointed to differences between The Tele and its sister title The Adelaide Advertiser, arguing that nuances existed in any community.

During the election, the Advertiser took a much less strident tone on the previous Labor government than most of the News Corp stable.

Reid argued: “In newspaper terms, Sydney has been described as a loud, hungry and vicious, sometimes aggressive place and therefore you get the Daily Telegraph.

“In Adelaide, it’s the much quieter, more conservative, ‘please don’t shake their trees too hard’ in-the-community Advertiser,” he continued. “If you go and produce the Daily Telegraph in Adelaide, there’d be massive upset and yet the values of those two newspapers and the core values of their audiences are nearly the same but there is that nuance.”

The inspiration for the “Will the real Sydney please stand up” event came from a survey by out of home company Adshel which suggested that more people working in the media industry had eaten at North Bondi Italian than had been to Parramatta. Also on the panel were Mindshare CEO Katie Rigg-Smith, Adshel marketing director Nicole McInnes, MixFM’s drivetime presenter Tim Ross and Woolworth marketer Luke Dunkerley.

Rigg-Smith told the audience that anyone working in agencies had a responsibility to understand the media outlets where they spent clients’ money. She said: “It doesn’t matter if someone in this industry hasn’t been to Parramatta – it makes a difference if we’re spending money on behalf of our clients, and a lot of their money, and we’re naive to it it, and we’re okay living in our bubble,” she said.

“You’re never going to be able to connect with them if you can’t empathise with them.

“You can’t spend your clients money on media if you haven’t ever touched the media.”

McInnes argued that the media industry needs to break its assumptions on audiences. “Make sure you do the research,” she said.

Meanwhile Ross argued against the “patronising” idea of sending agency staff to study people in Parramatta as if they were visiting a theme park. Ross argued that one of the biggest demographic trends facing ordinary Sydneysiders was being unable to afford to live in the suburbs they grew up in.

“I find it really offensive when they do these things like we’re all getting on a bus and we’re all going to go out west. So everyone from work gets on a bus and they drive down to Rooty Hill and go to the RSL, then they might go to Panthers. It’s something truly offensive to the western suburbs people, we’re all coming out to have a look like it’s Disney Land,” he said.


Miranda Ward


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