Fairfax boss Jack Matthews: With the Guardian’s five or six journalists against our 700, I like our chances

Jack Matthews Fairfax MediaFairfax Media has nothing to fear from the launch of The Guardian, the boss of the company’s metro operation has argued.

The comments from Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax Metro Media, came in a video interview with Encore timed to coincide with the relaunch of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from broadsheet to compact sized.

It also comes as The Guardian prepares to launch an Australian website.

Asked if he feared The Guardian, Matthews replied: “No, I don’t fear The Guardian. There are two aspects to that – audience and advertising dollars. In terms of audience The Guardian has good content… in the online world people don’t go to one place anymore, they go to lots of places. The people who have been inclined to go to The Guardian probably have been going to The Guardian for a long time.

“From what I have seen they are going to have five or six journalists. I don’t care how good those journalists are – if there’s five or six journalists against our 700, I like our chances.

“In terms of advertising they are going to be a niche publication here and they might pick up a few bucks here and there but I don’t see them as some sort of mortal threat to us. In the old days when people went to one newspaper, maybe. But not anymore.”

Asked about the timing of the move to compact, Matthews said that he wished previous managements of Fairfax had made the move years before.

He said: “You’re talking about 180 years of tradition and you don’t walk away from that lightly. But in my view, we should have done it earlier.”

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.


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