Mitchell to re­tire af­ter 23 years in chair

The Bulletin - - Cover Story -

EDI­TOR-in-chief of The Aus

tralian Chris Mitchell is to re­tire af­ter 13 years in the po­si­tion and 23 years as an edi­tor dur­ing the most sig­nif­i­cant changes to news­pa­pers since com­put­er­i­sa­tion – the switch to colour print­ing and the tran­si­tion to dig­i­tal plat­forms.

News Corp Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Ton­agh con­firmed Mr Mitchell’s im­pend­ing re­tire­ment this month. The date of his de­par­ture is yet been con­firmed, and Mr Mitchell will con­tinue to serve in the po­si­tion. Cam­paigns by The Aus­tra

lian un­der Mr Mitchell have led to wide­spread recog­ni­tion of is­sues pre­vi­ously swept un­der the car­pet. He was the first to ac­tively cam­paign to bring at­ten­tion to the is­sue of vi­o­lence against abo­rig­i­nal women and chil­dren, per­pe­trated usu­ally by male fam­ily mem­bers. In an in­ter­view prior to The

Aus­tralian’s 50th an­niver­sary last year, Mr Mitchell said even though the au­thor of the re­ports, Rose­mary Neill, won a Walk­ley Award, he was crit­i­cised for run­ning the sto­ries be­cause it was deemed to be racist.

Noel Pearson, chair­man of the Cape York Part­ner­ship, paid trib­ute to Mr Mitchell at the din­ner to mark the 50th an­niver­sary. “The sto­ries, the is­sues, the poli­cies and the pol­i­tics of in­dige­nous re­form played out in The Aus­tralian. The se­ri­ous­ness with which Mitchell treated the sub­ject was and is un­matched in the coun­try’s me­dia.”

His per­sis­tence on other sto­ries have re­sulted in ma­jor ex­posés, rang­ing from the Aus­tralian Wheat Board scan­dal over deal­ings with Iraq, the treat­ment and ar­rest of former ter­ror sus­pect Mo­hamed Ha­neef, and in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Queens­land floods in 2011 that led to two com­mis­sions of in­quiry.

Mr Ton­agh said he was dis­ap­pointed to see Mr Mitchell leave the com­pany, but re­spected his de­ci­sion.

“Dur­ing his time as edi­tor- in- chief, the Oz has flour­ished and is now deeply in­grained as a crit­i­cal part of the na­tional dis­course,” he said in a state­ment to staff.

Mr Ton­agh will make an an­nouce­ment when the date for Mr Mitchell’s de­par­ture is con­firmed.

Mr Mitchell in­formed News Corp of his in­ten­tion to re­tire in Septem­ber, stat-

ing that he wanted to spend more time with his fam­ily.

Mr Mitchell has been edi­tor- in- chief of The Aus

tralian for 13 years. He was ap­pointed edi­tor in 1992, a po­si­tion he held for three years be­fore mov­ing back to his home­town of Bris­bane to take up the role of edi­tor- in- chief of The Couri

er- Mail. He re­turned to Syd­ney to be­come edi­tor- in- chief of The Aus­tralian in 2002.

He started at The Aus­tralian in 1984, af­ter stints at

The Daily Tele­graph and The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view. Mr Mitchell was 35 when he was ap­pointed edi­tor of The

Aus­tralian un­der then edi­tor-in-chief Paul Kelly.

Chris Mitchell

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