The Mandarin managing editor Jason Whittaker returns to Crikey as publisher

Whittaker returns to Crikey as publisher after two years away from masthead

Whittaker returns to Crikey as publisher after two years away from masthead

Jason Whittaker, managing editor of The Mandarin, is returning to fellow Private Media masthead Crikey after being appointed publisher.

Whittaker, who was deputy editor of Crikey from 2010 to 2012 and was editor from 2012 until April 2014, will be responsible for editorial, subscriptions and other commercial activity.

“”We’ve always thought the Crikey model had a lot of potential beyond subscriptions. It’s obviously a subscriptions business primarily, that will remain the case and we have a lot of ideas how we can grow that subscriptions base,” said Whittaker.

“We also have a lot of ideas about the product and how we can commercialise our content, monetise more of it in different ways beyond subscriptions and working with partners as well.

“We had a lot of success on The Mandarin, delivering a hard-to-reach audience to some really big clients and in a very different way. Because Crikey is a different product, but in that model there is opportunity for Crikey. That’s what we’re focused on.”

Whittaker said native content is an opportunity for Crikey, as is product development.

“Native content is one way; Crikey has done a little in that and there is opportunity there. In product development there’s a lot that we can do. We launched a new website a few weeks ago and that gives us a better platform to work from,” he said.

A key focus of Crikey in the next two months will be election coverage after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull officially called a double dissolution election for July 2.

“Elections always work really well for us because we have this readership that, amazingly, has an unquenchable appetite for political news,” Whittaker said.

“We’re confident we can build a lot of buzz around this election and reinforce why Crikey is different, reinforce that we are doing something different and something that has real value in the market when news is pretty commoditised, particularly in the way we cover elections. We’re doing something that stands out and hopefully people see value in that.”

Whittaker has been the editor of Private Media’s public servants’ masthead The Mandarin, since launching the title in early 2014.

The Mandarin“What I was doing at The Mandarin, I was managing editor, so was more on commercial side in terms of our partnerships,” said Whittaker.

“Harley Dennett is the editor of The Mandarin and will continue to be, and I will transition out of that role over the next few months, so working 50/50 on both of them at the moment. Crikey is the focus going forward.”

The role of managing editor at The Mandarin will not necessarily be replaced, with Whittaker saying Private Media is “looking at what the needs are”.

“We’ll assess that down the track,” he said.

Whittaker replaces Marni Cordell, who was both editor and publisher of Crikey prior to her departure to Buzzfeed, where she is head of news.

cassidy knowlton - crikey editor

Cassidy Knowlton returned as editor in April

“The publisher model is new to our business. Marni Cordell was certainly transiting in that way, she was officially the publisher and was moving more in that direction when she was here. This is building on what she started in driving Crikey as its own entity,”Whittaker said.

Early last month Private Media named Crikey managing editor Cassidy Knowlton as as editor.

Whittaker said: “I bought Cassidy across from one of our other titles as production editor. She is a mate and a great journo and we work really well together. She is in charge – it’s her baby, her product, and she drives it day to day and drives our team.

“I sit over the top and drive some product and bigger editorial initiatives to help her out day-to-day.”

Miranda Ward


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