The Sunday Times (Western Australia)
|Owner(s)||Seven West Media|
|Founded||February 1897 (as West Australian Sunday Times)|
50 Hasler Road, |
Osborne Park, Western Australia
|Circulation||184,486 (as of June 2016)|
|Sister newspapers||The West Australian|
The Sunday Times, owned by Seven West Media, is a tabloid Sunday newspaper printed in Perth and distributed throughout Western Australia. Formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Australia and corporate predecessors since 1955, The paper was sold to SWM in 2016. Finalisation of the deal, which included the website PerthNow, was announced by The West on 8 November 2016.
Established by Frederick Vosper in the 1890s, The Sunday Times became a vehicle for the harassment of C. Y. O'Connor and the proposed Goldfields Water Supply Scheme in the late 1890s until O'Connor's death by suicide in 1902. A subsequent government inquiry found no justification for Vosper's campaign against O'Connor.
The paper was purchased from Vosper's estate by James MacCallum Smith and Arthur Reid in 1901. In 1912 MacCallum Smith became sole proprietor and managing director, remaining in that role until 1935, as well as being a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for 20 years. A. T. Chandler succeeded J. E. Webb as editor around 1920, and was an effective promoter of MacCallum Smith's secessionist views.
In 1935, a syndicate led by Jack Simons and including Victor Courtney and mining entrepreneur Claude de Bernales purchased Western Press Limited, the publisher of the paper, for £55,000. Simons was chairman and managing director until his death in 1949 when Courtney took control. In 1955 Courtney sold Western Press to Rupert Murdoch's News Limited.
The 2016 sale to Kerry Stokes's Seven West Media was not opposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and included certain co-operative arrangements, including sharing of news content between SWM and News Corporation, which will also handle Sunday Times and PerthNow advertising sales in Australia's eastern states. The two companies were already partners in Western Australia's Community Newspaper Group. Under the sale agreement, printing and distribution of those 17 local papers and W.A. circulation of "The Australian" will be done by SWN's West Australian Newspapers.
Format and circulation
To counter decreasing demand for newspapers and competition from radio, television and internet news, The Sunday Times has made adaptations in style and presentation but remains a populist tabloid rather than a newspaper of record. Its statewide circulation and extensive advertising content make it probably the most profitable newspaper in Australia.
In June 2006, The Sunday Times launched PerthNow, an online presentation of local news from News Limited. As of March 2016, third-party web analytics provider Alexa, ranked Perthnow.com.au as the 233rd most visited website in Australia, while SimilarWeb rated the site as the 32nd most visited news website in Australia.
Recent editors have been Don Smith from 1987, Brian Crisp from 1999, Brett McCarthy from 2001, Sam Weir from June 2007, Christopher Dore from April 2012 and Rod Savage from June 2013. In November 2016, The position devolved to Michael Beach, a Walkley-Award-winning journalist and SWN senior editor.
Western Australia's diminutive population has not enjoyed a competitive Sunday newspaper since The Independent was bought out by News Limited in 1984 and wound up in May 1986.
Before 1990, Perth had competitive Saturday newspapers (Weekend News and Western Mail (1980-1988)), as well as weekday morning and afternoon dailies (The West Australian and Daily News respectively). A small-circulation state edition of Murdoch's national daily The Australian is printed at The Sunday Times, targeting an elite readership group in a way which does not seriously impinge on the more demotic audience of The West Australian.
A joint venture between the two companies produces many suburban papers under the Community Newspapers banner. Independents that are not produced by the Sunday Times-West Australian include Echo Newspapers, Examiner Newspapers, Herald Newspapers (with Perth Voice), and Post Newspapers.
2008 leak controversy
On 30 April 2008, members of the police fraud squad conducted a raid on the offices of The Sunday Times—an unusual event for Australian mainstream media—following a state government complaint that confidential cabinet information had been leaked to the paper. An upper-house select committee inquiry subsequently found that no direction had been given to police by any minister, parliamentarian or staffer; and that "the police over-reacted in what should have been a routine search". The committee's findings included criticism of the Western Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Corruption and Crime Commission. It also recommended "that the Attorney General continue to pursue the introduction of shield laws for journalists".
- "Brands - Sunday Times and PerthNow".
- SWM finalises purchase of The Sunday Times". The West Australian, 8 November 2016, page 3
- G. C. Bolton. "Courtney, Victor Desmond (1894 - 1970)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- PerthNow website
- "perthnow.com.au Site Overview". Alexa. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Perthnow.com.au Analytics". SimilarWeb. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- The Australian (subscription required)
- Editorial contacts at Sunday Times
- Perth Suburban Newspapers Official combined website
- ABC News WA Police raid Sunday Times newspaper office 30 April 2008
- AAP report MPs to investigate raid on WA newspaper Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2008
- WA Legislative Council Select Committee into the Police Raid on the Sunday Times 7 August 2008
- ABC News Raid on The Sunday Times an 'over-reaction' 9 April 2009
- Report of Select Committee into the Police Raid on The Sunday Times 9 April 2009, at Parliament of Western Australia. Accessed 29 November 2013
- Dunn, Frank (1997) A Century of Sundays Perth, W.A. Sunday Times. ISBN 0-646-33801-3