Mumbrella founder Tim Burrowes to publish Media Unmade book in July

Mumbrella founder Tim Burrowes’ first book will be published in July by one of Australia’s most respected independent book publishers Hardie Grant, the company has announced.

Media Unmade will tell the definitive story of how Australia’s media industry evolved during the most disruptive decade of its history.

Burrowes took long service leave from Mumbrella during the latter half of 2020 to complete the project, which covers the story of every major medium, including television, radio, newspapers, outdoor and magazines.

The book – which covers 2010 to 2021 – charts the interlocking stories that define the industry’s decade, including David Gyngell’s rescue of Nine, Lachlan Murdoch’s success at Nova Entertainment and failure at Ten, how the ABC squandered its technological lead, and the Bauer family’s unhappy magazine adventure.

Backstage pass: Burrowes pictured with Lachlan Murdoch behind the scenes at the Mumbrella360 conference

Media Unmade also covers the story of how the business model for news changed, from the loss of a generation of journalists in the job cuts of 2012, to the introduction of paywalls, and the crusade by the Australian government to force Google and Facebook to pay for news. The book explores News Corp’s most challenging years when its editors went to war with boss Kim Williams, before the company acknowledged that polarising content was the key to attracting a paying audience. Burrowes explores how digitisation transformed the economics of the outdoor advertising industry, and highlights the booms and busts of the content marketing and group buying bubbles.

Kyle & Jackie O Show: Radio gamechangers

Among the decade’s winners, Media Unmade offers the inside story of how the bravest move of the decade – when Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson defected from Southern Cross Austereo to Australian Radio Network – fundamentally changed the radio market.  And it explains how Greg Hywood and Chris Janz saved the weekday editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age when the world thought they were about to stop printing. Media Unmade also covers the rise and rise of Antony Catalano, from redundant Fairfax executive to the country’s last newspaper baron. And the book recalls how the launch of streaming service Stan by Mike Sneesby changed the game for Nine before boss Hugh Marks masterminded its emergence as Australia’s biggest media company.

The book also charts how Covid-19 triggered the worst advertising recession in history and left media companies struggling for survival. And it takes a harsh look at the contribution of social media to the rise of democracy-damaging disinformation and inauthentic influencers.

‘I’m so pleased and proud that a credible, independent publisher like Hardie Grant has chosen to help me tell this important story,’ said Burrowes. ‘The story of the media is the story of Australia, and there’s never been a decade where so much change has occurred. Australian media has faced an existential challenge, and it’s crucial to understand how we got here.”

Hardie Grant publishing director Jane Willson said: “Whether it’s through the medium of newspapers, television, radio, magazines or online, media is all pervasive in our lives and Burrowes is so well placed to tell the compelling stories of how these businesses navigated the seismic changes wrought by the growth of digital media. For anyone who cares about culture and society in this country, we think it will be an account that is not to be missed.”

Media Unmade will be available to buy in all good bookshops, and is available for pre-order via this link.


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