The Australian winds back its youth publication, The Oz

News Corp’s flagship local publication, The Australian, is scaling down its youth publisher The Oz after less than a year in operation, making it a social media-only play.

It has not published any new stories on The Oz’s dedicated section of The Australian‘s website in January but continued to put posts online via social media sites such as Instagram in what appears to be a model for its future.

The Oz section of The Australian’s website on Wednesday was populated with old stories.
The Oz section of The Australian’s website on Wednesday was populated with old stories.

“The OZ brand will continue its strong presence on social media and its important role attracting new audiences to The Australian’s digital platform,” a spokesman for The Australian said. “We will retain The OZ’s innovative approach to digital journalism, social media and design.”

The move winds back The Australian’s hopes of capturing a new, younger audience via the youth outlet.

Reporters at The Oz, which launched in April last year and had produced original stories aimed at a younger audience than the primary Australian broadsheet, will be redeployed within the broader business.

The shake-up is one of the first under the tenure of new editor-in-chief Michelle Gunn and is a departure from her predecessor Chris Dore, who was widely seen as a champion of The Oz before his departure from the company late last year after making lewd comments to a woman at a party.

In a media kit for advertisers dated last year and obtained by this masthead, The Oz pitched itself as a younger sibling to The Australian, just as Triple J is to the ABC.

“The new generation are ravenous for information which helps them make sense of their world and form their opinion,” the kit reads. “The Oz published high-quality, thoughtful and impactful journalism, powered by a heritage in Australia’s most credentialed newsroom.”


It offered “bespoke” partnerships to brands with a minimum expenditure of $200,000 and display packages starting at $15,000.

At the time of the deck, The Oz boasted a staff of eight, all women.

Industry sources, who were not authorised to speak publicly, said The Oz had not delivered on its commercial hopes in the short time it had been operating. Many in the media were sceptical that The Australian, known for its conservative opinion voices and traditional news coverage, could appeal to a younger audience.

But The Oz achieved some goals. It has a confident visual design and a more casual tone than its parent masthead. It has also garnered about as many followers on Instagram as another youth outlet of much longer standing, Junkee, and published an influencer index similar to The Australian’s long-running ‘The List’ which details the country’s richest 250 people.

When The launched it put up its first post on Instagram with a quote from pop star Olivia Rodrigo. “It’s brutal out here,” the post reads.

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