Subscribers of The Sydney Morning Herald filled a 1400-capacity venue this week to listen to Fairfax Media’s star journalists discuss the biggest news events of the year.
The $35-a-ticket gathering at the Sydney casino Star City was a more expensive event than The Herald typically hosts for its subscribers.
Editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir said the purpose of the event, called SMH Live: 2016 Year in Review, was about building and maintaining relationships with readers rather than being primarily a commercial exercise.
“We need to deepen the relationship with our subscribers and to add value to the subscription package,” he said.
The Herald’s events usually attract up to 300 but consistent sell-outs over the years encouraged Fairfax to pursue a large-scale, end-of-year affair.
It featured 180 minutes of Q&A with journalists such as political and international editor, Peter Hartcher, economics editor Ross Gittins and senior business writer Adele Ferguson.
Author and columnist Peter FitzSimmons, photographer Andrew Meares and investigative journalist Kate McClymont also featured.
Mr Goodsir and Good Weekend editor Amelia Lester hosted the sessions.
“It heartens us that there’s an appetite and audience for this in-depth, nuanced commentary around big issues,” Mr Goodsir said.
“From a newsroom perspective, they’re (readers) wonderfully validating in giving us reassurance around the kind of journalism we’re doing, and providing authentic feedback.”
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