End of era as Fairfax name goes from media
The impending disappearance of the Fairfax name from the Australian media landscape has triggered disappointment and surprise across different parts of the industry.
Nine Entertainment's acquisition of Fairfax Media, announced on Thursday, will erase the venerable Fairfax family name, with the new media giant to be called Nine.
The Fairfax name has been associated with Australian journalism since John Fairfax bought the-then Sydney Herald in 1841.
While the Fairfax family sold its final interest in the company in 2011, University of Technology Sydney head of journalism Monica Attard, a former ABC journalist, said the loss of the name was "a great tragedy".
"It's hard to imagine how Nine and Fairfax are culturally aligned in any way, shape or form," Professor Attard said.
"To lose the branding of the Fairfax family name is a great tragedy. I think it must be tragic for the remaining Fairfaxes."
Prof Attard said the loss of the name was significant because the Fairfax brand "resonates nationally with independent journalism, with journalism that has always been known to be solid and truthful".
Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said on Thursday the survival of Fairfax's flagship mastheads was a more important consideration.
"It's not about the corporate name of an organisation that matters here, it's the future of the mastheads," Mr Hywood said during a media conference announcing the $2.2 billion deal.
"The audiences - our readers - connect with the Sydney Morning Herald, they connect with The Age, they connect with the AFR, they connect with a variety of publications we have around the country.
"The good thing about this arrangement is that it puts those mastheads on an even stronger commercial footing than they currently are."
Media strategist Steve Allen, of Fusion Strategy said the decision to drop the Fairfax name was "insanity" because it, along with the mastheads, had value.
"I think Fairfax is more than the sum of the parts of the three major mastheads because it's been around so long, because it's done such a great job for such a long period of time," Mr Allen said.
"I think there is value they have discounted in this deal with the way they have handled this deal in the Fairfax name."
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