Front page of The Courier-Mail
25 July 2008
The Courier-Mail is a daily newspaper published in Brisbane, Australia. Owned by News Limited, it is published daily from Monday to Saturday in tabloid format. Its editorial offices are located at Bowen Hills, in Brisbane's inner northern suburbs, and it is printed at Murarrie, in Brisbane's eastern suburbs. It is available for purchase throughout Queensland, most regions of Northern New South Wales and parts of the Northern Territory.
The history of The Courier-Mail is through four mastheads. The Moreton Bay Courier later became The Courier, then the Brisbane Courier and since 1933 The Courier-Mail.
The Moreton Bay Courier was established as a weekly paper in June 1846. Issue frequency increased steadily to bi-weekly in January 1858, tri-weekly in December 1859, then daily under the editorship of Theophilus Parsons Pugh from 14 May 1861. The recognised founder and first editor was Arthur Sidney Lyon (1817–1861) who was assisted by its printer, the later mayor of Brisbane and member of Queensland Legislative Council, the hon James Swan (1811–1891). Lyon, also referred to as the "father of the Press" in the colony of Queensland, had previously served as a writer and journalist in Melbourne and he would move on to found and edit journals such as Moreton Bay Free Press, North Australian and Darling Downs Gazette.
Lyon arrived in Brisbane from Sydney in early 1846 to establish a newspaper, encouraged to emigrate by Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang. He persuaded James Swan, a printer of Lang's Syndney newspaper "The Colonialist. Lyon and Swan established themselves on the corner of Queen Street, Brisbane and Albert Street, Brisbane, in a garret of a building later known as the North Star Hotel. The first issue of the Moreton Bay Courier, consisting of 4 pages, appeared weekly on Saturdays, starting 20 June 1846 with Arthur Sidney Lyon as editor and James Swan as publisher.
After some 18 months, Lyon and Swan disagreed on many aspects of editorial policy, including transportation of convicts and squatting. Lyon took over sole control in late 1847, but had money problems, and gave sole control to Swan. Swan sold out to Thomas Blacket Stephens in 1859.
The Moreton Bay Courier was purchased by Thomas Blacket Stephens in May 1861, becoming daily The Courier, Brisbane Courier in 1864. In June–July 1868, Stephens floated a new company, and transferred the plant and copyright of the Brisbane Courier to "The Brisbane Newspaper Company". He was the managing director until retired in November 1873, when the paper was auctioned.
The Journal was, from November 1873 to December 1880, managed by one of the new part owners, the Tasmanian born former public servant Gresley Lukin (1840–1916). Although called 'managing editor', actual writing and editing was by Irish William Augustine O'Carroll (1831–1885). Most prominent of the various editors and sub-editors of the Queenslander 'literary staff' were William Henry Traill (1842–1902), later NSW politician and editor of the famed Sydney journal 'The Bulletin', and Carl Adolph Feilberg (1844–1887), of Danish birth but educated in French and English.
Carl Feilberg followed William Henry Trail in the function of political commentator and the de facto editor of the Queenslander to January 1881. He succeeded William O'Carroll as Courier editor-in-chief from September 1883 to his death in October 1887. Lukin's roles as part owner-editor changed hands on 21 December 1880. Charles Hardie Buzacott (1835–1918), former 'Postmaster General' in the first McIlwraith government, had been a staff journalist. John James Knight (1863–1927) was editor-in-chief of the Brisbane Courier 1906-16, later managing director, then chairman of all the company's publications.
The first edition of The Courier-Mail was published on 28 August 1933, after Keith Murdoch's Herald and Weekly Times acquired and merged the Brisbane Courier and the Daily Mail (first published on 3 October 1903). In 1987, Rupert Murdoch's News Limited acquired newspaper control, and outstanding shares of Queensland Newspapers Pty Ltd.
Political position 
The Courier-Mail is a right of center newspaper with four editorial endorsements for the coalition to one for Labor in the period 1996–2007. The Courier-Mail generally supports free market economic policies and the process of globalisation. It supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The Courier-Mail has the fourth-highest circulation of any daily newspaper in Australia with 224,689 sales Monday to Friday, and 326,767 on Saturdays (June 2006 figures). Around three-quarters of the paper's readership is located in the Brisbane metropolitan area.
Although often claimed to be Brisbane's only daily newspaper since the demise of Queensland Newspapers' own afternoon newspaper The Telegraph in 1988, it arguably has had two competitors since 2007. News Corporation itself has published mX, a free afternoon newspaper, since 2007, but mX has a relatively low news content. Fairfax Media has published the online Brisbane Times since 2007.
- Jun 1846 – Dec 1847: Arthur Sidney Lyon (first editor)
- Dec 1847 – c. 1850: James Swan
- early to mid-1850s: William Wilks
- 1860: Richard Belford (former editor of Ballarat Star and later editor of the North Australian)
- 1860–1863: Theophilus Parsons Pugh (also the creator and publisher of Pugh's Almanac)
- 1864–1866: David Frederick Tudor Jones
- 1867–c. 1869: William O'Carroll (Queensland journalist)
- 1869–1873: George Hall ("the Bohemian")
- 1873–1875: Gresley Lukin (assisted by William O'Carroll)
- 1875 – Dec 1880: William O'Carroll (as the de facto editor, officially edited by the managing editor Gresley Lukin)
- Jan 1881- Sep 1883: William O'Carroll (as the de facto editor, although officially edited by the managing editor Charles Hardie Buzacott)
- Sep 1883 – Oct 1887: Carl Adolph Feilberg
- Oct 1887 – Dec 1887: Edmund John T Barton (later author of the Jubilee History of Queensland)
- Jan 1888 – Jun 1891: William Kinnaird Rose
- Jan 1894 – Nov 1898: Frederick William Ward
- Dec 1898 – Apr 1903: Charles Brunsdon Fletcher
- April 1903 – 1906: Edmund John T Barton (later author of the Jubilee History of Queensland)
- 1906 – Jun 1916: John James Knight
- Jun 1916 – Jun 1919: John MacGregor
- Jun 1919 – 1932?: R. Sanderson Taylor
- 1932 - Dec 1933: Firman McKinnon
- Jan 1934 - Sep 1936: Reginald Tingey Foster (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail, The Queenslander)
- late 1936 - 1938: Charles E Sligo (news editor, acting editor)
- Apr 1938 - late 1941: Jack C Waters (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail, The Queenslander (to 1939))
- 1942 - 1968: Theodor Charles Bray (later Sir Theodor) (after 1953 also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
- 1968 - 1969: Alan F Cummins
- 1969 - 1979: John R Atherton
- 1979 - 1984: Kevin J Kavanagh
- Mar 1984 - Mar 1987: David C Smith (Feb 1986 - Mar 1987 also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
- Mar 1987 - Apr 1991: Greg Chamberlin
- Apr 1991 - Apr 1995: Des Houghton
- Apr 1995 - Jun 2002: Chris Mitchell (also Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
- Jun 2002 - Mar 2010: David Fagan (Mar 2010 - Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
- Mar 2010 - - Michael Crutcher
- Mar 1987 - Apr 1991: Ron Richards (managing editor)
- Apr 1991 - Apr 1995: Jack Lunn (Editor-in-Chief The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail)
Prominent journalists and columnists include Terry Sweetman and Mike O'Connor. Its current Editor is Michael Crutcher. Editor-in-chief for Queensland Newspapers is David Fagan, who is married to columnist and 612 ABC Brisbane radio broadcaster Madonna King. Deputy editor is Steve Gibbons, former editor-in-chief of the Australian Provincial Newspapers group and a senior editor at The Age and The Sunday Age in Melbourne. Its editorial cartoonist is Sean Leahy. For thirty years the paper's senior rugby league football journalist was former Australian vice-captain Jack Reardon.
Change to tabloid 
From its inception until March 2006 The Courier-Mail was a broadsheet newspaper. On 14 December 2005 it was announced that the paper would change to a tabloid sometime in early 2006, however the term "tabloid" was not used in favour of the term "compact". This linguistic choice was probably related to widespread public view that many tabloids, including those published by News Limited, were low quality publications (see tabloid for discussion of this size and quality issue). Much emphasis was made that it was merely the paper size that was changing and not the journalistic quality. The last broadsheet edition was published on Saturday 11 March 2006, and the first tabloid edition was published on Monday 13 March 2006. On the same day, the paper's website was revamped and expanded.
The change to a "compact" format brought The Courier-Mail in line with all other News Limited Australian metropolitan daily newspapers. This followed the change to a tabloid format by The Advertiser of Adelaide—another News Corporation newspaper—some years earlier. Despite the claims that there would be no loss of journalistic quality, The Courier-Mail in its "compact" format is not well regarded for its journalism, e.g. the 'Crikey' website described it as "one of the contestants in a close run field for worst paper in Australia". In August 2011, police and the parents of a murder victim criticized the paper for falsely accusing their son of a child sex crime.
The Courier Mail is often used by News Limited to publish news that might be considered controversial in the limited Queensland market, where the Courier Mail holds a virtual monopoly on printed news, before running the same story in broadsheet media nationally against which it may be criticized by rival publications. It is common in government and political circles to discuss if any decision would pass the "Courier-Mail Test", meaning that if the results of the action were to go public, and all the positive aspects removed, how would any potential negative aspects be scandalised by the Courier Mail and thus what risks need to be mitigated early.
See also 
- Brisbane Courier 26 Oct 1861, p2c (obituary for Lyon); Brisbane Courier 22 Aug 1887, p.6 & 22 June 1926 'The Story of the Courier'
- "Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 2 June 1891, page 5". Nla.gov.au. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- "Brisbane Courier, Saturday 20 June 1896, pages 7-8". Nla.gov.au. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- T. B. Stephens (2 July 1868). "Notice". The Brisbane Courier.
- Stephens, Thomas Blacket (1819 - 1877), Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Judith Womersley, Mark Richmond (2001). AussieData: From Prehistory to the Present. Wakefield Press. p. 160. ISBN 1-86254-545-6.
- H. J. Summers, 'Knight, John James (1863 - 1927)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, MUP, 1983, pp 622-623
- "How Partisan is the Press? Multiple Measures of Media Slant".
- "The Courier-Mail Demographics". Retrieved 2007-02-09.
- "Blog of Andrew Bartlett". Andrewbartlett.com. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Margaret Simons (26 June 2007). "Crikey Bias-o-meter: The Newspapers". Crikey.com.au. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Marissa Calligeros (3 August 2011). "Child sex slur disgusting murder victims mum". Brisbanetimes.com.au. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Brisbane Courier 29 January 1895, p2. "The Queenslander: New Series".
- Brisbane Courier 20 June 1896, p7a–8c. Jubilee Issue 1846 To 1896. "Half-a-Century of News Paper Work. A Chequered Career. Genesis of a Daily Paper. The Early Press of Queensland". by J. J. Knight.
- Brisbane Courier 22 June 1926 "Eightieth Birthday Number"
- Browne, Reginald Spencer: A Journalist’s Memories, Read Press, Brisbane 1927, 351 pages & index.
- Cryle, Denis: The Press In Colonial Queensland: A Social and Political History 1845–1875, Brisbane 1995, 191 pages.
- Davies, Alfred G.: "Queensland's Pioneer Journals and Journalists", Historical Society of Queensland Journal (RHSQ) vol 3, No 4, 1936–47, p265–283.
- Ørsted-Jensen: Robert: The Right To Live - the Politics of Race and the Troubled Conscience of an Australian Journalist (yet unpublished manuscript)
- Digitised historic Courier-Mail from the National Library of Australia
- Digitised Brisbane Courier from the National Library of Australia
- Digitised Courier from the National Library of Australia
- Digitised Moreton Bay Courier from the National Library of Australia
- The Courier-Mail online