Peter Fray, Amanda Wilson and Paul Ramadge all depart Fairfax

Fray: Out

The drama at Fairfax have continued with Sydney Morning Herald’s editor-in-chief and publisher Peter Fray, editor Amanda Wilson and The Age’s editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge all stepping down from their roles.

Mumbrella understands that the three are also leaving the organisation.

Sean Nicholls, state political editor of the SMH tweeted a few moments ago: “Peter Fray ends his resignation speech with: ‘Thank you all – and good luck’.”

The departures follow last week’s announcement of 1,900 job cuts as Fairfax restructures. In today’s Australian, there was speculation that a new structure would be created with a national newsroom structure and five geographic editors covering Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.

Linnell: More announcements later

The structure would potentially put editorial director Garry Linnell at the top of the tree.

According to Nicholls, Linnell is due to make more announcements at 4pm.

The SMH quotes Linnell as saying: “Two key editorial appointments for The Sydney Morning Herald will be announced later today.”

The announcement from Fairfax on the SMH departures:



June 25, 2012: Fairfax Metro Media, a division of Fairfax Media, today announced that The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Fray and The Sydney Morning Herald editor Amanda Wilson will be leaving the company as part of changes to Metro Media’s editorial structure which will be further outlined to staff this week.

Key editorial appointments for The Sydney Morning Herald will be announced later today.

Peter Fray

Peter Fray will leave the company on July 5 as his current position will no longer exist under the new Fairfax Metro Media editorial management structure. He has decided to seek new challenges in the creative, media, business and publishing industries outside of Fairfax.

Fairfax Media CEO, Greg Hywood, said: “Peter has contributed greatly to the transformation of Fairfax from a print only to a genuine multiplatform media company. Peter excelled as an editor and publisher combining his great feel for journalism with an ability to get the best out of his people.”

Fray first joined the Herald in 1987 and has spent 24 of his 27 years in media at either Fairfax Media or Rural Press.

His 17 years of unbroken service at Fairfax since 1995 have, aside from editing roles, included a three-year stint as The Age and the Herald’s European correspondent, the news and Spectrum editor of the Herald and reporting on religion, politics, gossip and rural issues. He has also been deputy editor of The Sun-Herald, and editor of The Sunday Age, The Canberra Times and, prior to his current role, editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.

During his leadership of the Herald the newspaper was twice named (2009, 2010) the best newspaper in the Asia Pacific region by the Pacific Area Newspaper Press Association (PANPA).

Over the past 18 months as first editor-in-chief and then editor-in-chief and publisher, he has played a pivotal role in the Herald’s evolution to a true multi-platform media organisation as it transitions from print to digital.

“I have enjoyed a wonderful and rich journey in this company and after much soul searching decided that now is the time to step out and seek new challenges,” Fray said.

“I am especially proud of the investigative journalism work we’ve done, the many campaigns we’ve championed and, on the publishing side, the new products we’ve developed, such as the tablet, the compact business and sport and, most recently, the new Sun-Herald.

“I fully appreciate these are difficult and trying times in the media industry but I know that qualities embodied in The Age, the Herald and Canberra Times mastheads and their staff will continue to play a vital role in our society,” he said.

Fairfax Metro Media CEO Jack Matthews said: “All of us will be saddened to see Peter leave. I will miss his charm and intelligence. I fully respect his desire to seek new opportunities in publishing outside of the company.”

The editorial director of Metro Media, Garry Linnell, said: “Few can appreciate the difficulty of editing a daily newspaper until they have been there; you suddenly discover you have a lot of new friends but when tough decisions and choices have to be made – often in rushed and highly pressured circumstances – it is the loneliest job in the world.

“Peter thrived in those situations and we will miss his editing and publishing skills – and his leadership,” he said.

Fray said: “I would like to thank all my colleagues and friends across the company for all their support, encouragement and patience over the years.

“This is a collaborative industry and we are at our best when we work together toward a common goal. And to that end, I wish everyone all the very best.”

Amanda Wilson

Amanda Wilson is stepping down as editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and will leave the company to pursue new interests. Wilson, who last year was appointed the first female editor of the Herald in 180 years, will leave Fairfax on June 29.

Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media, said: “Amanda has been an exemplary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. She continued to build the reputation of the newspaper while at the same time guiding it through a period of enormous change.

“This is of little surprise as she has shown such skill and dedication throughout her 17 years at Fairfax. We wish her the very best for her future,” Hywood said.

Wilson said: “The past 18 months as editor have been the most rewarding of my four decades as a journalist. It has been a complete privilege to be able to lead this fabulous team of talented, committed, passionate professionals whose journalism is second to none.

“I am proud to have been part of such a vibrant newsroom where journalistic integrity and independence is paramount. The skills and values of the Herald’s journalists have made it one of the top newspapers in Australia, one of the most respected media brands and has lifted the news website to the country’s number one,” she said.

“I am handing over the reins as the Herald begins to implement a newsroom restructure that will see the most profound change in the way it operates. It is a time of enormous challenge for the Herald, which editorial staff are facing with typical determination to succeed.

“Transition on this scale is never easy, but the newsroom is more than half way there – our accomplishments with the tablet app and the website have already been recognised. I leave the Herald well prepared to continue kicking goals,” Wilson said.

Editorial Director of Fairfax Metro Media, Garry Linnell, said: “I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for what Amanda has achieved during her leadership of The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Her first priority has always been the integrity of the masthead – and the welfare of those around her. She has been a fiercely passionate editor who has worn her love for – and dedication to – the Herald on her sleeve every single day of her editorship.

“But at the same time Amanda hasn’t been intimidated by the institution or its history. She helped lead the Herald newsroom into the digital future while balancing the needs of the printed newspaper.

“Most of all, though, she has consistently produced a Herald that has broken stories and engaged in the independent journalism its readers expect from it,” Linnell said.

Metro Media CEO Jack Matthews said Wilson’s contribution to the Herald had been remarkable.

“When the Metro group was formed a little over a year ago, it was a clear signal that Fairfax was embarking on a new path. Amanda embraced that change and was a leader in helping our editorial staff understand and support those changes.

“Throughout her career at the Herald, Amanda has shown the deepest commitment both to upholding the paper’s standards, and to the large number of journalists and others she has worked with at Fairfax. I am just one of many people here who will miss her,” Matthews said.

Wilson started at the Herald as foreign editor, and in her 17 years with the paper worked as an editor across most parts of the masthead.

“I’ve had a wonderful career at the Herald, and now is the right time for me to move on, to build on that experience as a newsroom leader and to explore new opportunities,” she said.

“As a start I’ll be getting back to my Mandarin language studies and enjoying the luxury of being one the Herald’s readers on all its platforms as a devoted outsider.”

The announcement on Ramadage’s departure:

June 25, 2012: Fairfax Metro Media, a division of Fairfax Media, today announced that The Age editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge will be leaving the company as part of changes to Metro Media’s editorial structure which will be further outlined to staff this week.

Key editorial appointments for The Age will be announced tomorrow

Paul Ramadge has been Editor-in-Chief of The Age since 2008. He will step down from the role early next month.

“Paul leaves The Age in extraordinarily good shape,” Garry Linnell, Editorial Director of the Metro Division of Fairfax Media, said. “It is the current Newspaper of the Year. The Age iPad app is widely judged to be one of the best in the world. The Ages newsroom produces award-winning and highly creative multi-media journalism, from mini-documentaries to interactive graphics and database reports.

“In his four years as Editor-in-Chief, Paul has led The Age with unwavering passion. He is a talented journalist and a superb leader and manager. No one who knows Paul has ever doubted his love of The Age, and his commitment to integrity, fairness and balance.”

Ramadge said it had been a great privilege and honour to edit The Age.

“I came to Melbourne 16 years ago because I had a deep affection for The Age and all it stood for,” he said. “I had to pinch myself when I became one of just 21 editors in The Age’s proud history. I mean it when I say I love the place. I am extremely proud of my colleagues. They champion public-interest, independent journalism. When we were challenged, by economic conditions or by those with narrow interests, we stood as one, resolute in our ethics and standards.

“These are extremely challenging times for the media. As I leave The Age I am convinced that our nation needs The Age more than ever. It is an essential guardian of truth and fairness.

“I want to thank Fairfax Media for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank The Age’s hard-working and passionate staff. And I pass my best wishes for the future to Fairfax’s current leaders,” Ramadge said

Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media, said: “Paul has shown the way for The Age during a period of great upheaval in the industry. His unwavering commitment to investigative journalism and breaking news has set The Age apart during his tenure. He can feel proud.”

Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax Metro Media, said: “Paul has been an exemplary leader of The Age and his achievements during his four year term as editor underline this. The paper has become synonymous with great investigative reporting and, at a time of enormous change, he has been a consistent and robust defender of press freedom and the right of the public to know how decisions are made and how they will affect them. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Under Ramadge’s leadership, The Age won almost every major award for journalism and ramped up its reputation for hard-hitting investigations and exclusive news.

The Age broke major stories, including the Securency and Helen Liu investigations, a multi-media investigation into Melbourne’s illegal sex trade, and revelations about hospital ghost wards and troubles within Victoria Police.

Ramadge leaves legacies including more progressive Saturday and Sunday newspapers, a stronger coverage of the higher education sector, a broader spread of voices on the opinion pages and online, and a newsroom of journalists well equipped for print, digital and broadcast work. He has also handpicked or guided the selection of trainee journalists at The Age for the past decade.


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