Sun fun: ‘Harto’, AO, looks back on his Brisbane days

Jan 26, 2022 at 11:34 am by admin

Former News Australia chief John Hartigan and the engineer of Australia’s media bargaining code, Rod Sims are among those honoured today.

Hartigan – who becomes an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day honours – rose to chief executive but was replaced in 2011 when Kim Williams was appointed in a largely abortive attempt to introduce change at News. His citation references “distinguished service to the media industry, to indigenous welfare, and to sport”.

Sims, who is about to step down after 11 years as head of the ACCC, receives a similar award, in his case for “distinguished service to public administration in economic policy and regulatory roles”.

Former foreign correspondent for the Australian Financial Review and Financial Times, Tony Walker becomes a member of the Order of Australia (AM), and four others in media roles – Seven News presenter Jane Doyle, radio broadcasters Caroline Hutchinson, John Martin and Billy Pinnell, as well as Peter Ryan and Ron Smith – are awarded the OAM.

Both Hartigan and Ryan recall a classic journey beginning as copy-boy, in Hartigan’s case to become both chairman and chief executive of the company then known as News Limited.

In an interview for The Australian, he says he “had a ball every day” of his working life. “I can’t recall any day that I wasn’t thrilled with the career I’d chosen, or the people I worked with.”

He worked as a journalist in Australia, the US and the UK, with roles including editor-in-chief of the (Sydney) Daily Telegraph.

In 1982 he was the founding editor of News’ top-selling (Brisbane) Daily Sun, a role he says was “not for the faint of heart”. The paper closed at the end of 1991 following a management buyout forced by the Trade Practices Commission after Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the Herald & Weekly Times.

The (Brisbane) Daily Sun and rival Telegraph in 1984 TV advertisements

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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