Sydney Morning Jokers

Comic Sans, Furious Backlash

It’s only a font. But it is a seriously loaded-with-meaning font. After it made an appearance on the front pages of the Sydney Morning Herald, it has turned into internet fodder to mock the Sydney Morning Herald. Let’s face it, the SMH has been going down hill for some time, and really did itself no favours by backing Tony Abbott at the last federal Election (yes, that again, but it’s hard to forgive).

Since then Darren Goodser, the editor has come forth defending his choice of font saying he was trying to illustrate how comical the idiotic answers were by the corrupt politicians. That may be true, and it is not for us pretend to understand the motivations of an editor who opts to go with comic sans on the front page. One thing that is abundantly clear is that Darren Goodser clearly does not take the Sydney Morning Herald with all its history, prestige and standing all that seriously. For years the SMH tried to affect a dignified tone until it ran out of editors of a certain generation who could administer a high style. Through the 90s it gave way to a more vernacular, breezy style – so much so that when you read articles syndicated from the New York Times in the SMH, you’re struck by how far down the style hill the Herald staff has allowed themselves to roll.

It’s a shame, because the Sydney Morning Herald has already lost its important prestige paper size of being a broadsheet thanks to the decline of newspapers worldwide. In this context Darren Goodser’s choice is understandable but goes to show there really isn’t much left at the Sydney Morning Herald that is high-minded or that which takes itself seriously. And if this is the big paper that stands apart from the already-dreadful-and lowbrow Murdoch papers, then the outlook on print media reportage in this country is pretty damn bleak. It’s easy to see that Darren Goodser and his choice to put comic sans on the front page is symptomatic of a wider decline in journalistic standards. It’s not just his fault per se. It simply illustrates just how far things have fallen.

It’s really quite sad because they used to be the establishment. Now they’re pandering.

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