Mitchell to retire after 23 years in chair
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.