Clarke: News Corp’s election front pages would make British papers ‘blush’

Martin Clarke

Martin Clarke

Mark Britt

Mark Britt

The editor-in-chief and publisher of the biggest English-language news website in the world the Mail Online has said News Corp Australia’s election coverage would have made UK papers “blush”, and the new local operation would not be focussed on “setting the political agenda”.

In a video hangout with Mail Online’s Martin Clarke, Mi9 CEO Mark Britt and Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes talking about the new joint venture between the companies, Clarke declared the Mail Online would have little trouble fitting in with Australian journalistic culture.

“Some of the front pages I saw during the election looked pretty tabloid to me. They were things that most British papers would blush at doing,” said Clarke, during the video hangout (20 minutes in).

“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble producing Australian content and Australian journalism that fits our mould.”

Mi9 and the Daily Mail announced a joint venture to launch an Australian arm of the website yesterday, promising an editorial team of 50 to sit alongside the NineMSN team and creating more localised content for the site.

Whilst the Daily Mail is attacked in some corners for its right-leaning tendencies and aggressive political stance, Clarke said the online operation was “not about setting political agendas or ramming agendas down people’s throats”.

He added: “That is a newspaper obsession. My obsession is entertaining and informing people. That’s not to say we will do bland middle of the road stuff, but our line will be dictated by the individual story. Journalists tend to see things through a political prism, we see things through the prism of ‘is it interesting?’”

Clarke also defended the journalistic approach of the Daily Mail and Mail Online. When questioned on some of its journalistic practices such as asking people the value of their house Clarke said the tactic was misunderstood.

“People misunderstand why we do that – it’s to help readers understand the people they are reading about,” said Clarke.

“The UK is very class-ridden and people want a picture of these people and house prices are an obsession in Britain and I suspect around the world. It’s a very quick way of telling people who they are reading about and characterising them – that’s all.”

But he avoided answering the question himself (23  minutes in).

The global Mail Online site boasts 57 million readers per month, with over a million in Australia already, however some experts are sceptical as to its impact locally saying it will not be a “game-changer”.

In a wide ranging interview Clarke and Britt discuss:

  • Journalism as a “contact sport” and explain how the Mail Online will find its place in the Australian market.
  • The hiring of their editorial team of 50. With Clarke saying he expects many applications from News and Fairfax journalists.
  • Commit to paying freelancers and contributors with Britt declaring the Huffpo model do not allow journalists to pay their bills.
  • Said they expect the Mail Online would join the Australian Press Council, with Clarke declaring: “I’d be very surprised if we didn’t.”
  • The Mail Online will not “worry about setting political agendas”, Clarke said: “my obsession’s entertaining & informing people.”



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.