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Kirk declares the power of print

Monday, 17 September 2007
By Print 21 Online Article

Blogs might be a popular form of media, but Fairfax is still dedicated to looking after its print publications according to David Kirk, CEO of Fairfax Media.


In a speech delivered at an Australian British Chamber of Commerce function held in Sydney, Kirk spoke about his strategy for the company which includes developing further online content whilst still nurturing a commitment to print.

"Media is indispensable to our democracy and the freedoms we cherish," he said.

Kirk pointed to the rise in blogging as a dominant journalistic practice. "We live in a world of 40 million blogs on the net," he said.

"Some 150 journo blogs now operate in Australia, with some 30,000 comments being contributed every day; 23 per cent of Australian surveyed are spending more time participating in personal broadcasting, including blogging and the sending of photos."

In spite of this phenomena, Kirk still believes that Fairfax’s print publications are popular for readers. "Even though we have suffered some loss of audience in print, more people are reading our content in print and online than ever before in our history," he said.

"We need to plan for these changes – because changes in our readers’ tastes will drive what our advertisers will want, and how information will be received and consumed."

To ensure the longevity of Fairfax Media, Kirk announced a three-part plan which includes:

* Defending and growing the Fairfax newspapers.
"The value of trusted, independent journalism has never been higher," Kirk said. "We are not naïve about the challenges faced by large metropolitan newspapers with heavy classified loads. But overall, we are bullish on print."

* Building a strong online business.
"We have been steadily building our online businesses over several years," Kirk said. "Fairfax’s management of our exposure to the downside of classified migration at the major metro papers has been crucial to the successful future of the company."

* Building a digital media company
The Sydney office is currently preparing to relocate to One Darling Island to a building known as the Newsroom of the Future that will see print, online and electronic editors sitting side by side.

"Unique video content will be particularly valuable," Kirk said. "We need to be collaborative and connected across the natural boundaries of print and digital, editorial and advertising, Sydney and Melbourne, New Zealand and Australia, if we are to build a digital media company that creates, distributes and monetises content across many different media platforms – newspapers, magazines, the internet, mobile phone and anywhere else we can."

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