6 December 2006

Canberra Times to rejoin Fairfax

| Ari
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It seems Rural Press majority shareholders John B. Fairfax and Tim Fairfax have realised their long-term ambition to get back a big slice of the family business with the announcement of a proposed merger between Fairfax and Rural Press.

In the announcement to the ASX, Fairfax Media’s chief executive David Kirk talks at length on the importance being placed on acquisition of the Rural Press flagship The Canberra Times.

It’s been a long struggle for John B. and Tim to build their media assets up to the point where they could partially undo the damage done by Warwick Fairfax in the 1980s, although their single-minded focus on costs has resulted in some rather damaged newspapers (including The Canberra Times), according to most observers.

Time for Riotact’s traditional Canberra Times bagging to begin …

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Hopfully with less reporters needed on national and international stories the CT can give better local coverage as well as better stuff sourced from the rest of fairfax, plus of course a better website.

I was please to see Fairfax listing the Times in with the SMH and the Age as their metro dailies rather than in with the rural and regional papers at the announcement yesterday.

Either that or the Smage will drop to the standards of the Canberra Times when the Rural Press razor gang get through with them.

With content from the SMH and The Age to cherry pick from it should become a good read.

News can’t take control of fairfax because of the competition laws, and this move will make it even harder as they’ll operate in even more of the same markets.

I don’t know what I’ll do if Fairfax gets sold on to the likes of News Ltd or similar. The Smage are the only really readable newpapers for anyone with a reading age of over 12 and political leanings to the left of Mussolini.

Bravo to the CT returning to Fairfax – perhaps it’ll start to read less like the NT News and more like a grown-ups’ paper.

Bugger, where did that “some” come from? Red face, slinks away.

I agree – if this means the quality of teh CT and its website improves just a little bit, then I am all for it.

Can’t wait to see the Shitty News go feral on this. They now have a full-on banner on their website about “Times readership drops”… seriously, it’s getting a bit petty, isn’t it? Do they honestly think they are in the same market as the Canberra Times?

If it means the CT gets a decent website I won’t be complaining. And maybe even some a higher proof-reading standard….?

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