Entrepreneur and environmentalist Graeme Wood
The poor performance of news publishers is failing to deter some of Australia’s wealthiest people from throwing their considerable weight behind them. The latest Rich 200 member to try his hand is wotif.com founder Graeme Wood.
Wood has been named as a founding investor in a new digital edition of British newspaper The Guardian, which will launch in Australia later this year.
The inaugural editor Katharine Viner says The Guardian already has a large number of readers in Australia. The new site will provide them with more on-the-ground reporting, Viner says, and provide The Guardian with a base from which to improve its coverage of the Asian region.
“We will build a small Australian team to cover the issues that really matter to the nation and connect our Australian readers to the Guardian’s global network of correspondents and commentators.”
Wood says the Guardian’s expansion into Australia will have many benefits to local readers. “It will add quality and diversity to our media as well as fostering a closer interaction between Australians and the rest of the world.”
The Guardian is Wood’s second foray into online publishing. He has pledged $15 million to The Global Mail, a not-for-profit online news service, which began in February last year. In December, The Global Mail made 20 per cent of its workforce redundant after a slow take-up in readership.
Wood will be hoping his investment in The Guardian provides a better return than fellow rich-lister Gina Rinehart’s media assets.
Rinehart began buying media stocks in 2010. Over the past 12 months, her Ten Network and Fairfax Media shares have fallen in value by 51 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.