End of an era as SMH presses fall silent


Today’s print edition of  The Sydney Morning Herald is to be the last, bringing a sad and abrupt end in hardcopy form to the nation’s oldest and most famous newspaper masthead. 

And The Bug understands a decision will be taken later today by owners Nine Entertainment on whether a final Sun-Herald will be published tomorrow.

The decision was forced on 9 after today’s Traveller section was a pathetic eight pages, with just one single, solitary, quarter-page ad for Sydney-Tokyo flights on the back page.

A fortnight ago, it was 32 pages. In better times now gone perhaps forever because of coronavirus, Traveller was larger than the main Saturday SMH “book” – its main news section – and even that was often inflated by full-page travel ads that had overflowed from the travel section.

Nine chairman Peter Costello (pictured above with today’s scrawny Traveller section) told The Bug: “I’ve seen more paper in the dunny-roll aisle down at Woolies.

“I wouldn’t have enough paper here to wipe my lard arse properly.”

The former federal Treasurer said it was common knowledge that it was only the Traveller liftouts in both weekend papers that “were keeping them barely profitable”.

“Do you think we were ever going to survive on a couple of poxy ads for some deputy principal at a stuck-up, snotty nosed private girls school on the North Shore or a middle-level project manager for a construction company?”

The Bug understands that if both print-edition newspapers fold, many of the 21 journalists who still work there will be consigned to the scrapheap although a lucky few might move across to the internet versions.

The Sydney Herald, founded by three English emigrants, was first issued as a weekly in 1831 and became a daily in 1840. For decades, the SMH was the shining light in the Fairfax family media dynasty.

The SMH used to be Sydney’s media market leader until Rupert Murdoch convinced really poor people in the suburbs whom he really detests with a vengeance and whom he has absolutely no affinity or connection with politically or in any other fucking way when you think about it that they should buy The Daily Telegraph instead.