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Panpa Bulletin : March 2011
The Independent Weekly, now independent of paper. To see how Realview can help you change to digital, visit www.realviewdigital.com With help from Realview, The Independent Weekly is now a digital daily, The Indaily. Moving from print to digital was not only about saving costs for The Indaily, it was about a faster way to build readership, more ef fective and innovative work-flows and new revenue streams. Altenatively, visit us at Booth 18, Publish A sia 2011, Bangkok, April 27 - 29. DAILY INwww. indail y.c om.au www.panpa.org.au 14 | MARCH 2011 | The PANPA Bulletin Fairfax’s first lady “SORRY, we don’t have any ladies lavatories here,” came the response when Amanda Wilson asked about a sub-editor’s job at a Fleet Street newspaper three decades ago. Closer to home, she and other female News Ltd staff in the 1970s had to wait five years to qualify to join the company’s superannuation scheme, while men only had to wait a year. Now, at the helm of The Sydney Morning Herald as the first female editor in its 180-year history, Ms Wilson does not easily forget the challenges of being a woman in a blokey newsroom culture. Early in her career, she had to make her way through some dis- criminating workplace practices but says they were nothing compared with the challenge of editing one of the world’s newspaper icons. “It’s a seriously big job,” she ex- plains. “It’s about being a leader in the newsroom – putting in a huge number of hours of work – it’s about running a business, and it’s about being a spokesperson for the paper in the community. The Herald plays a very special role in Sydney, and it’s editor is expected to be part of that. It feels like the role is 24 hours. “Some people might think they want the job because of the kudos or that it would be the pinnacle of their career. Those things are true, but they are only a part of why you would want to do it.” Ms Wilson can understand why many excellent female journalists, such as Elisabeth Sterel, who was a senior editor at The Herald and Fair- fax for many years, never made it into the Editor’s chair. “Newsrooms have been harsh en- vironments for women who wanted both career and family – the hours are punishing, which is why many female journalists made careers in magazines.” As a single parent, Ms Wilson says she is proof that these days newspa- pers do their best to make it possible for both mothers and fathers to make big contributions. “You don’t need to be part of the ‘new spinsterhood, sin- gle and childless’, to get to the top”. Although she could not confirm any specific area of change in The Herald’s maternal or paternal leave policies, she says: “I would do my best to help somebody who wanted to stay at a particular level and who also wanted family leave. “There is no disguising the fact it’s difficult. It’s not an industry where you can turn up at nine and go at five, especially if the (proverbial) hits the fan.” When that happens, the job is never more fun. “Ultimately, you don’t work in newspapers for as long as I have if you don’t think it’s fun,” she says. “It’s the people, it’s a fantastic environment. “We have some of the brightest, funniest, most incisive minds, and they are passionate about keeping the powers-that-be honest and hold- ing them up to the light. “There are very few people who are in it simply because they love seeing their byline; that’s not what it’s about.” Being the first woman editor at The Herald has strategic advantages. “I’ve now realised how much be- ing a woman in this job can mean to people and how it might influence people,” says Ms Wilson. “This presents a great opportunity to be part of the community.” Ms Wilson spent two years as deputy editor to Peter Fray, who took on the new position of editor- in-chief of both The Herald and its sister paper the Sun-Herald. He will also be overseeing the paper’s tablet app development. Ms Wilson has stepped into the editor’s role at a pivotal time. Fairfax Media – owner of The Her- ald – has just appointed a new CEO, Greg Hywood, and a significant structural change to the company is just starting. Much was made of the integration of Fairfax’s print and online proper- ties when the company’s strategy was announced late last year. Many assumed such a move would give the editor more control of the website, smh.com.au. “I don’t read that into it,” she says, adding that more will become clear as Mr Hywood makes his mark. “We have to evolve what we are delivering in print to fit people’s needs and the fact that they are read- ing us on different platforms,” says Ms Wilson. But as a newsprint optimist, she has in no way forgotten about the power of print, saying 20 million newspapers are bought in Australia every week, “which is among the biggest per capita consumption of print in the world”. “It’s not about turning the newspa- per into something that it isn’t,” she continues. “It’s about ensuring people are as enthusiastic about it as I am, and en- suring the future and the vibrancy of the print product, to make sure that it isn’t lost in the grand change.” She would not disclose what plans she has for innovation in journalist practices even though a role for data journalism editor has been adver- tised by the digital arm of Fairfax. “Everything we do must focus on our readers,” she says. “In print and on every other platform that we now publish to. We must offer the best and strongest journalism in text, il- lustration and photography – that’s my challenge and my vision.” Rebecca Leaver NPA H DGYLVRU \#SXEOLVKHUVEXUHDXFRPDX S :KDW \RX QHHG WR NQRZ DERXW 3XEOLVKHUV¶ $GYHUWLVLQJ $GYLVRU\ %XUHDX (PSOR\PHQW $GYHUWLVLQJ 7KH DLP RI HPSOR\PHQW DGYHUWLVLQJ LV WR HPSOR\ WKH EHVW SHUVRQ IRU WKH MRE 2XU ERRNOHW LV KHUH ,I \RX ZRXOG OLNH WR YLHZ RXU QHZ (03/2<0(17 $'9(57,6,1* ERRNOHW KDYH ORDGV RI UHOHYDQW LQIR DW \RXU ¿QJHUWLSV DQG EH RQ RXU PDLOLQJ OLVW WR UHFHLYH DOO WKH ODWHVW 3$$% $OHUWV DQG *XLGHOLQHV DV WKH\ FRPH RXW WKHQ SOHDVH YLVLW RXU ZHEVLWH DW ZZZSXEOLVKHUV EXUHDXFRPDX FRQWDFW 1(: ǯ As the first female editor of The Sydney Morning Herald in its 180-year history, Amanda Wilson has plenty to smile about