The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
The Daily Telegraph, also nicknamed The Tele, is an Australian tabloid newspaper published in Sydney, New South Wales by News Corp Australia. It is published Monday through Saturday and is available throughout Sydney, across most of regional and remote New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and South East Queensland.
(News Corp Australia)
|Headquarters||2 Holt Street, Surry Hills, Sydney|
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Founded in 1879, The Daily Telegraph ran as a broadsheet until 1927, when it switched to a tabloid format. The paper returned to a broadsheet format in 1931, but paper restrictions during the Second World War saw it return to tabloid format in 1942. From 1936 until its sale to Rupert Murdoch's News Limited in 1972, the Telegraph was owned by Sir Frank Packer's Australian Consolidated Press.
In October 1990, at the same time as a merger took place between its Melbourne sister papers The Sun News-Pictorial and The Herald, the Telegraph merged with its afternoon sister paper The Daily Mirror to form The Daily Telegraph-Mirror with morning and afternoon editions. The new paper continued in this vein until January 1996, when its name reverted to The Daily Telegraph. The paper continued morning and afternoon editions until January 2002, when the afternoon edition was discontinued.
The circulation of the Telegraph during the June quarter 2013 was 310,724 on weekdays, the largest of a Sydney newspaper. In the 2013-14 financial year it decreased 9.65% to 280,731. In the financial year ending June 2019, the Mon-Fri readership of the Daily Telegraph declined 10.9%. The Saturday readership declined by 19.3%.
Breaches of media ethics in coverage of LGBTI people
On 9 June 2021, Sydney University researcher Dr Alexandra Garcia published a corpus linguistics analysis of reporting about LGBTI Australians by the Daily Telegraph and affiliated Newscorp mastheads, Herald Sun, and The Australian. Following an analysis of more than one million published words, Dr Garcia concluded that Daily Telegraph and its associated publications covered transgender people and issues substantially more than any other organization and the coverage was overwhelmingly negative, with more than 90% of articles representing transgender Australians in a strongly negative light. The research found that the publication of Advisory Guidelines by the Australian Press Council had not improved the standard of reporting, with most reports and columns being characterized by fear-mongering, misrepresentation of medical science, divisive rhetoric, derogatory language, and suppression and under-representation of the voice of transgender people. One commentator suggested that reporting standards amounted to “outright bombardment of harassment” targeted at transgender Australians, with unethical reports also being exploited by extreme right-wing groups to mobilize hate against minorities. A few days later, the Daily Telegraph published an opinion article by editor James Campbell calling transgender Australians a “fad” that “most of us disagree with”, and accusing them of an “Orwellian” erosion of “free speech”. No column space was given to any transgender Australian. Around the same time that Sydney University published its analysis, Dr Ada Chugg of Melbourne University published research showing the impact of societal discrimination and prejudice on transgender Australians. She found that the unemployment rate amongst transgender Australians was three times the national rate, that more than 68% of transgender Australians experienced physical and verbal assault, and 43% had attempted suicide as a result of social marginalisation.
The analysis followed similar work by LGBTI rights watchdog, Rainbow Rights Watch, in 2017, which analysed more than 8 million published words which found that reporting in Australian press publications Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, and The Australian were calculated to inflame fear, uncertainty, and confusion about transgender people and issues, and that the Australian Press Council was ineffectual at upholding long term balance and good media ethics.
Transgender student and the word 'faggot'
On 2 May 2019, the Daily Telegraph published an article about a US case of a teacher who refused to use the appropriate pronouns for a transgender student. The article prominently incorporated a video with the word 'faggot' appearing twice, once in capitalised letters. The thumbnail for the video also prominently incorporated the word 'faggot'. On 17 September 2019, following an investigation spanning 16 months, the Australian Press Council found in Adjudication #1785 that "the word 'faggot' is most used as a pejorative term to describe gay men". The Council also found that the inclusion of the word could reasonably be read as "demeaning and mocking of gay men ... and others with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics".
Reporting on transgender woman accused of violence found to be prejudicial
In January 2017, the Daily Telegraph published an article concerning a transgender woman subsequently convicted of a violent axe attack in a Sydney suburb. Although her transgender status was irrelevant to the incident at the time, The Daily Telegraph used derogatory slurs and made repeated references to the attacker's history of sex reassignment surgery, calling the woman a "tranny" who "had chopped herself".
The following week, SBS published an article expressing concern about how journalists "appear to enjoy treating transgender people as the punchline to a joke", singling out the Daily Telegraph's journalist.
In September 2018, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal considered whether the article constituted unlawful vilification through its "gratuitous references to", and "ridicule of" the woman's transgender status. The Tribunal found that the Daily Telegraph published the article with "apparent disregard for the injurious effect it might have on transgender people". The Tribunal also held that "it is evident that [the journalist] was seeking to make fun of Ms Amati and probably transgender people more generally", and that the "attempt at humour was in poor taste and completely devoid of empathy or sensitivity".
Continuing, the Tribunal also held that the article "contributes to the perpetration and perpetuation of demeaning negative stereotypes and a lack of acceptance of transgender people within the community". The Tribunal ultimately concluded that, whilst "close to the line", the article did not reach the threshold for vilification.
Lawyer Michael Bradley wrote an analysis of the case for political news website Crikey, arguing that the publication of such articles should not be unlawful, but instead that the Daily Telegraph should have sufficient social responsibility to cease publishing the author's "recklessly hurtful attempts at wit – because he did, and does, harm".
On 18 October 2019, after an investigation spanning 1,011 days, the Australian Press Council concluded that the article breached its Statement of General Principles.
Infographic stating youth homosexuality was a sickness found to be prejudicial
On 12 July 2017, the Daily Telegraph published an article headlined "Fat Chance Of Being Healthy" in print. The article was syndicated online under the headline "Junk food, alcohol and drugs are fuelling health crisis in young adults". The article contained an infographic that canvassed social health concerns, such as alcohol usage, obesity, and drug dependency, for which "Young Aussies have only themselves to blame". The infographic included "same sex attraction" among the condemnable health problems it canvassed.
A number of LGBTI Australians complained that the article was prejudicial, saying that sexual orientation is neither a choice nor a medical problem, and such coverage contributes to prejudice, shame and suicide risk for young same-sex attracted people. The 'blameworthiness' implicit in the headline was alleged to perpetuate negative stereotypes about gay children. The article drew condemnation from the ABC's Media Watch, Sydney radio station 2 DAY FM, Pedestrian TV, and Junkee.
Chris Dore, the publication's Chief Editor, responded to the criticism from the Daily Telegraph's social media accounts, saying the story had been "misinterpreted" and that it "in no way suggests, or intends to suggest, that same-sex relationships are unhealthy. There is no judgement expressed at all in the story other than diet."
The press regulator, the Australian Press Council, was asked to consider whether the article complied with its Statement of General Principles. The Council concluded its investigations five months later. It upheld the complaint, saying "the reference to ill health and blame in the headlines, with the statistic about same-sex attraction displayed among factors such as obesity and drug use, suggested same-sex attraction is unhealthy and blameworthy. As a result, the article caused substantial offence, distress, prejudice and risk to public health and safety, and there was no public interest justifying this."
The Daily Telegraph was further sanctioned by the Australian Press Council for failing to comply with the requirements around publication of adjudication findings. The Press Council required the publisher to republish the print component of the adjudication as it was not fully compliant with its requirements in the first instance. The reprint was published on 24 January 2018. The Daily Telegraph claimed that "nothing sinister had occurred [in the non-compliance]", and blamed the misdemeanour on a production error.
Reporting about Australian Defence Force LGBTI Inclusion Guide found to be misleading
The Australian press regulator, the Australian Press Council, concluded on 13 May 2019 that an article published by the Daily Telegraph about an Australian Defence Force "LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion Guide" breached its General Principles because the report was inaccurate and misleading. The report's headline was found to have misled readers into believing that the Australian Defence Force had banned service members from using the terms "he" and "she" out of concern for the sensitivities of gender diverse service members.
Interview discussing transgender children that was found to be misleading
On 12 June 2019, the Australian Press Council concluded a 14 month investigation into an article and associated podcast published by the Daily Telegraph about transgender children. It concluded that the article breached its General Principles because factual claims about medical efficacy were likely to be misleading. The impugned material concerned an interview in April 2018 between columnist Miranda Devine and Ryan T. Anderson of the conservative American think-tank, the Heritage Foundation. The material substantially focused on medical care for transgender children and adolescents, and claimed that there exists "no evidence that these hormones are safe to be used on kids, no evidence of any reduction in self-harm or suicide".
At the time, gender affirming treatments were already considered medically necessary and highly effective by a significant number of eminent medical associations, including the American Medical Association, the World Health Organisation, the World Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the International Endocrine Society, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health, the Royal Children's Hospital, the Australian Psychiatric Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Opinion column on transgender children found to be misleading
The Australian Press Council sanctioned a further article by columnist Miranda Devine about Australian transgender children, headlined "What madness can justify mutilating our children?" The piece referred to medical procedures for gender transition as "mutilation", "child surgical abuse" and a "monstrous assault on adolescents' developing bodies". The article also cited the opinion of a Sydney pediatrician who has never treated gender dysphoria, performed no original research into its cause or treatment, and who has appeared previously in presentations hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby on the subject of medical care for transgender adolescents. The article did not cross-reference those opinions against eminent medical bodies or contemporary standards of practice as recommended in the Press Council's Advisory Guide.
The Australian Press Council concluded in June 2019 that the article breached its Standards of Practice. It held that the claim of "no evidence that changing sex will reduce the incidence of self-harm or suicide or lessen the impact of other associated mental states" was misleading and expressed in such absolute terms as to be inaccurate.
The ABC's Media Watch criticised the publication for "lack of balance" and for putting religious and political motivations ahead of truth, balanced facts and the public interest in evidence-based medical care.
Geoffrey Rush defamation
On 30 November 2017, the Daily Telegraph published a front page article, headlined "King Leer", alleging that actor Geoffrey Rush had acted inappropriately towards an actress. during rehearsals for the Sydney Theatre Company's 2015–2016 production of King Lear. The article featured an image of Rush shirtless and in white makeup.
Rush denied the incidents, and said his career had been "irreparably damaged" by the newspaper's untrue reports. It subsequently came to light that the Daily Telegraph did not interview the female actor concerned and provided only a bare few hours for Rush to respond to the serious allegations. Rush filed proceedings on 8 December 2017 in the Federal Court of Australia for defamation against the publisher of the Daily Telegraph, saying the publisher "made false, pejorative and demeaning claims, splattering them with unrelenting bombast on its front pages".
The defamation claim was upheld on 11 April, on the grounds that the Telegraph failed to prove the truth of its allegations. Rush was awarded $850,000, with further damages for the actor's economic losses to be determined later. He said that the female actor was needlessly "dragged into the spotlight by the actions" of the Daily Telegraph. Despite the damaging judgement, the Telegraph stood behind the article's journalist, Jonathon Moran.
Tony Zoef defamation
On 22 August 2013, the Daily Telegraph published an article headlined "Tailor’s alter ego as a gunrunner". The article referred to an individual who was known to Sutherland Shire locals as a "friendly tailor who spends his days altering their clothes". The article claimed that the individual was "alleged" by police to be "the mastermind behind a haul of military-grade weapons smuggled into Australia".
The article mistakenly attributed the alleged crimes to the wrong individual, who subsequently filed a complaint of defamation in the New South Wales Discrict Court. In the first instance, the Court found that, despite the serious errors in the article, the publisher's defence based on a prior offer of amends should prevail.
On appeal, the Supreme Court of NSW upheld the complaint of defamation. It held that, "Taking into account the seriousness of the defamatory imputations and the significant hurt they caused the appellant, the damage to his business as a tailor, the unequal prominence the respondent afforded to the proposed correction and apology and their resultant inadequacy, the modest monetary component of the offer, and the likelihood of the proceedings being successful, the offer of amends was not reasonable." The Court awarded a sum of $150,000 to the complainant.
John Brogden allegations
The Telegraph was widely criticised for its coverage of former New South Wales Liberal leader John Brogden. After Brogden resigned in 2005, the newspaper ran a front-page headline, "Brogden's Sordid Past: Disgraced Liberal leader damned by secret shame file", detailing past allegations of misconduct by Brogden. The following day, Brogden attempted suicide at his electoral office.
Rodney Tiffen, an academic at the University of Sydney, described the newspaper's coverage as an example of "hyena journalism", judging Brogden's personal life to be off limits following his withdrawal from public life.
Mount Druitt High School
On 8 January 1997, the Telegraph published the headline "The class we failed" concerning the Year 12 class at Mount Druitt High School in outer Western Sydney in which no student scored a Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) above 50 (the maximum possible rank is 99.95). Although the article made clear that the newspaper believed that the state had failed the students, many accused the Telegraph of branding the students themselves as failures and showing a full year photo identifying students.
The story led to a renewed focus on the quality of public schools in Western Sydney and precipitated several reviews of schooling in the area. But for many, the headline highlighted problems with interpreting Higher School Certificate results and the accompanying TER.
In that story The Daily Telegraph suggested, among other things, that the students in the class of 1996 failed their HSC. This is wrong and The Daily Telegraph withdraws any such suggestion. The Daily Telegraph also withdraws any suggestion that those students acted without discipline or commitment in their HSC studies. The students in the HSC class of 1996 successfully completed their HSC and contrary to the suggestions in the original article many of those students performed very well scoring high marks in the HSC. The Daily Telegraph apologises to each student in the class of 1996 at Mt Druitt. It also apologises to their parents and friends for all the hurt, harm and suffering it has caused them.
Later, criticising defamation laws, News Limited CEO John Hartigan said that
Call centres in India
In October 2006, The Telegraph claimed in a front-page article that Australia and New Zealand Banking Group were using call centres in Bangalore, India. The paper even sent a journalist to Bangalore, Luke McIlveen, and a photographer to verify this claim. ANZ denied the claim, stating that they do not employ overseas call centre staff in India. Subsequently, ANZ pulled all of its advertising from News Limited, including Foxtel and News website, which amounted to $4–5 million, about 10% of ANZ's advertising budget.
Allegations of plagiarism
In 2002, former Telegraph journalist, Matt Sun, was accused of plagiarism by the TV program Media Watch. Editor at the time, Campbell Reid, responded by accusing Media Watch's host of having a conflict of interest that "destroyed the credibility of any judgement he could pass on the ethics and standards of others in the media".
Press Council complaint regarding Greens article
In May 2011, The Telegraph published an article making an assertion about the Australian Greens which subsequently prompted a complaint to the Australian Press Council. The article asserted that the Greens had managed to "force" the Government to divert money from flood relief, to fund various Green programs. The Press Council upheld the complaint and stated that the assertion was inaccurate and remained uncorrected.
Press Council complaint regarding series of misleading NBN articles
In June and July 2011, The Telegraph published a series of articles about the National Broadband Network. These articles triggered a complaint to the Australian Press Council, alleging that they were factually incorrect, unbalanced and misleading. In December 2011, the Press Council upheld the complaints on all three articles, forcing the Telegraph to publish the adjudication. The Council also published the following statement in regards to the issue:
The Council expressed concern that within a short period of time three articles on the same theme contained inaccurate or misleading assertions. It considers that this sequence of errors should not have occurred and that they should have been corrected promptly and adequately when brought to the newspaper's attention.
Press Council complaint regarding Mark Latham article (Sunday Telegraph)
In December 2011, The Sunday Telegraph published two articles about former Labor leader Mark Latham and an alleged argument he had with his child's swimming teacher. Mr Latham complained to the Australian Press Council that there was a conflict of interest which should have been disclosed as the reporter was the daughter of one of the swim teachers at the school. Mr Latham also complained that the articles breached the privacy of his family, especially his young children, and were not in the public interest. The Press Council upheld the complaint and published the following statement (extract only):
The Council emphasises that in accordance with generally recognised principles a conflict of interest exists where there is a reasonable possibility that the conflict will affect a reporter's impartiality, irrespective of whether it actually does so. Accordingly, this aspect of the complaint is upheld.
Press Council complaint regarding asylum seeker article
In November 2011, The Telegraph published an article about asylum seekers with the front-page heading "OPEN THE FLOODGATES – Exclusive: Thousands of boat people to invade NSW". Another headline stated "Detainee Deluge for Sydney". This prompted a complaint to the Australian Press Council, which was upheld. The Press Council published the following statement (extract only):
The Press Council has concluded that use of the word "invade" was gravely inaccurate, unfair and offensive because of its clear connotations of forceful occupation. Accordingly, the complaint is upheld on this ground for what the Council regards as an especially serious breach of its principles. The Council has concluded that use of the words "open the floodgates" and "deluge" were inaccurate and unfair. Even the intake levels claimed in the article could not reasonably be described as having such an extreme impact on suburban Sydney, and nothing quoted from the briefing note asserted government fears of inability to cope.
Press Council complaint regarding series of Clover Moore articles
Throughout 2011, The Telegraph published 17 articles about Sydney Lord Mayor and MP Clover Moore. The articles prompted a complaint to the Australian Press Council. The complainant argued that the articles provided unbalanced coverage and that many of the headlines and phrases were opinion rather than fact. The Press Council upheld the complaint in part and published the following statement (extract only):
The Council has concluded that the headlines mentioned above breached [the Council's] principles because they expressed the newspaper's opinions rather than being a summary of facts reported in the accompanying news story. The inclusion in a news story of words such as "crazy council policies", "junket" and "diva-like list of demands" which were not attributed to any sources also failed to separate fact from opinion. Accordingly, the complaint is upheld on these grounds.
Photoshopping of Mike Carlton onto Boston bombing victim
Following the resignation of Fairfax commentator Mike Carlton, The Daily Telegraph published a 2-page spread attacking Carlton and competing newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald. The spread included a composited image of Boston Marathon bombing victim James Costello, with Mr Carlton's face and wearing an Arab headdress. The photoshopped image portrayed Carlton "escaping Gaza". The image manipulation drew widespread criticism on social media, and forced the editor to apologise, saying he was unaware of the origin of the image.
On Sundays, its counterpart is The Sunday Telegraph.
Its Melbourne counterparts are the Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun. In Brisbane, it is linked with The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail, in Adelaide, The Advertiser and Sunday Mail, in Hobart, The Mercury and The Sunday Tasmanian, in Darwin, The Northern Territory News and Sunday Territorian.
The Daily Telegraph has traditionally been opposed to the Australian Labor Party, and is often a supporter of the Liberal Party of Australia. A 2013 front-page headline said of the second Rudd Government "Finally, you now have the chance to kick this mob out" and "Australia Needs Tony". The paper's high-profile columnists are predominantly conservative.
A Roy Morgan media credibility survey found that 40% of journalists viewed News Limited newspapers as Australia's most partisan media outlet, ahead of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on 25%. The survey found that readers took a generally dim view of journalists. In response to the question "Which newspapers do you believe do not accurately and fairly report the news?", the Daily Telegraph came third (9%) behind the Herald Sun (11%) and "All of them" (16%).
At the 2007 Australian federal election The Daily Telegraph for only the second time endorsed the Australian Labor Party. At the 2010 Australian federal election the newspaper endorsed the Coalition and Tony Abbott. In the 2013 election, the Daily Telegraph ran 177 stories that were pro-Coalition and 11 stories that leaned the other way. During both the 2016 and 2019 Australian federal elections, the Daily Telegraph strongly endorsed prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison respectively, both of the Liberal Party, while attacking then-opposition leader Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party. The Labor party lost both elections. Continued praise of the Coalition provides consistently high approval ratings for prime minister Scott Morrison, when compared to federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese.
The Telegraph is edited by Ben English. The previous editor was Christopher Dore. Dore's predecessors are Paul Whittaker, Gary Linnell, David Penberthy, Campbell Reid, David Banks, and Col Allan, who served as editor-in-chief at the Murdoch-owned New York Post from 2001 to 2016.
Circulation and readership
Readership data from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia October 2018 report shows that the Daily Telegraph has total monthly readership of 4,500,000 people via print and digital, compared to 7,429,000 people for its primary competitor, the Sydney Morning Herald.
As of February 2019, third-party web analytics provider Alexa ranked The Daily Telegraph's website as the 343rd most visited website in Australia (down from 90th in July 2015).
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