Fairfax faux pas roils rural rivals

Fairfax Media hasn’t been making too many friends recently: last week it decided to close business newspaper The Independent. And now it has fallen foul of a rival publisher after incorrectly claiming ownership of a magazine in some of its recent sales material.

Fairfax’s latest sales collateral listed market leader Rural News as belonging to their stable, which, not surprisingly, got the goat of the real owners, Rural News Group.

“What do you when you don’t have a leading publication in a particular category? Pinch someone else’s, if you’re Fairfax. We’d like to make it extremely clear that Rural News is published by Rural News Group”, says managing editor Adam Fricker. “They at least got the readership figure correct though: 229,000 and first in its category.”

But, slightly disappointingly, it doesn’t appear to be an act of ruthless corporate sabotage by the Fairfaxians. Sandra King, Fairfax Media Group sales and marketing manager says it was an “honest mistake in a very comprehensive mailer that went out to a limited database”.

“It had 75+ titles within in it giving circulation and readership numbers and also the publisher of each title. Unfortunately, we made one mistake and we’re very sorry that it happened. We also don’t want this title attributed to Fairfax so we are busily amending and sending out a new version.”

Fricker says the Rural News Group will take it as a compliment that the media behemoth has claimed Rural News as its own. However, they want to make it clear to advertisers that they need to contact Rural News Group to book. Rural News Group also publishes Winegrower and Dairy News, which was launched in the Australian market earlier this year.

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