Marni Cordell reflects on time editing Crikey, including publication of News Corp blue book


Cordell: ‘My first Crikey sick feeling came in August 2014, on the day we published News Corp’s infamous blue book’

Outgoing Crikey editor Marni Cordell has reflected on her tenure editing the online website, admitting her first “Crikey sick feeling” came on the day Crikey published confidential News Corp financial documents.

In the piece titled How to be Crikey’s editor, Cordell explains the “Crikey sick feeling” was coined by Sophie Black, who edited Crikey from 2009 to 2012, to describe “the dread you feel in the pit of your stomach when you’re about to break a big and potentially damaging story”.

Cordell states her first Crikey sick feeling came in August 2014 “on the day we published News Corp’s infamous blue book“.

“These confidential operating accounts, long kept hidden from the scrutiny of shareholders, showed Murdoch’s Australian outfit had not weathered the changing media landscape as well as its shareholders — and staff — had been led to believe,” Cordell wrote.

“The docs had fallen off the back of a truck and into the hands of Crikey’s then-business editor, Paddy Manning, a few days before. I knew that if News Corp caught wind of the story the behemoth would take legal action to stop us publishing, so I kept the circle of people who knew about them tight, even freezing out one of my subeditors because he’d only been with us a week and I wasn’t yet sure if he was trustworthy. (Sorry, Dan! You’ve earned your stripes.)

“The Insider went out two hours late that day, but we got there without an injunction. Not long after it landed in inboxes, News Corp’s lawyers were on the phone. We agreed to shred the original docs, but the stories — and the humiliating figures in them — remain online.”

Cordell’s piece also covered those stories Crikey editors haven’t been able to get across the line.

“Mine involved a high-profile person drunkenly pissing on the parliamentary lawn. The public sure would’ve been interested, but …,” she wrote.

Cordell announced she was leaving Crikey last month to join Buzzfeed as head of news, where she starts on April 19.

Last week, Crikey managing editor Cassidy Knowlton was named editor of the Private Media-owned title.

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