mX (newspaper)

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mX
MX-newspaper-masthead.png
Type Free daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) News Corp Australia
Editor Melbourne: Craig Herbert
Sydney: Melissa Matheson
Brisbane: Emma Chalmers
Founded 2001
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Official website www.mxnet.com.au

mX is an Australian free afternoon daily newspaper in the cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, owned and produced by News Corp Australia. Targeted at commuters, its main channels of distribution are inner-city railway stations, tram and bus stops, and major CBD intersections.

Beginnings

The first mX was published in Melbourne on Tuesday 6 February 2001,1 hoping to capitalise on the Metro format, popular in Europe. The paper contains lighter news and sports articles, often containing strange stories and facts from around the world (under the headings "Nice One" and, "What The?"). The newspaper's approach is a much greater focus on entertainment than news than broadsheet newspapers, or even other tabloids.

Melbourne Express, published by rival Fairfax Media, was this paper's competitor. Initially it used the same format, although it was released in the mornings rather than the afternoon. It began publication the day before mX, but was soon overtaken due to mX's much broader use of colour, its greater availability, and its lighter tone. In addition, mX had no explanation at its launch, allowing readers to assume that it stood for "Melbourne Express" and that it was the paper known by that name. Melbourne Express ceased publication on 7 September 2001.

The broad success of mX contributed to reduced sales of the afternoon edition of News Corporation stablemate the Herald Sun, the last edition being published on 21 December 2001.2

Sydney and Brisbane editions

A man hands out copies of mX at St. James railway station, Sydney

Following the success of mX in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane editions were since launched.

On 4 July 2005, mX launched a Sydney edition. Sydney City Council is considering a tender to lease Sydney footpaths to News Corporation for $362,000 annually, and charge other free daily newspaper a similar fee if they use the same location more than 40 times a year. Other newspapers, such as Green Left Weekly that are distributed by sellers on streets, are concerned about the possibility that they may be required to also pay such fees.3

The Brisbane edition of mX was launched on 5 March 2007, with an expected distribution of 40,000 copies per day.4

In the 29 November 2006 Melbourne issue, a map was shown saying that mX was no longer available at Southern Cross Station due to an agreement between the station and Fairfax,citation needed publishers of The Age and defunct Melbourne Express. mX did, however, gain approval from the City of Melbourne to use a thin stretch of land out the front of Southern Cross Station adjacent to Spencer Street that it is not controlled by Southern Cross Station. This arrangement now sees mX distributors handing out copies once again at the Collins Street and Bourke Street entrances to Southern Cross Station, commencing from early 2007, and permanent street stands, similar to those throughout the Melbourne CBD, now in place at these entrances, on the council's land.

Format and content

Being a commuter newspaper, mX is much thinner than other daily newspapers.

Central themes of most articles include U.S. celebrity gossip, new product lines, controversial events, rumours, celebrity trivia, and readers' gripes, amongst other attention-grabbing stories. Large photographs often appear without any related story, only a caption describing their contents; conversely, news stories are rarely accompanied by photographs. Small, large, and full page advertisements are also a major contributor to the paper's overall make-up.

Sections

  • News – Short items of 'legitimate' news such as national and state politics, including the next day's weather forecast. Located on page 2.
  • Juice – Celebrity gossip. Located on page 3.
  • Sport – Located on the final two or three pages.
  • Brainwave – The puzzles page, including a crossword, Sudoku and various (Mumma needed) other word games. Also includes a horoscope under the heading of "Should I get out of bed tomorrow?"
  • Talk – Essentially Letters to the Editor, although most letters are very short, having been sent via SMS. It is divided into several sections:
    • Vent Your Spleen - Devoted to readers' SMSed complaints (often about public transport services), comments and thoughts.
    • Overheard - Devoted to humorous or bizarre conversations overheard and sent in by readers.
    • Here's Looking At You - In which readers write messages to people on public transport to whom they are attracted, in the hope that they will reply and arrange a date, or just to anonymously compliment them. Originally such messages appeared in the general 'Vent Your Spleen' section, but the practice became so popular that it was separated into its own section.
    • Lost in Love - Readers' responses to a request from another reader for relationship advice, and an invitation to send replies to the next day's question.
    • My Platform - A vox pop in which three people on the street give a short response to a question.
  • Flicks – That night's movie listings. A movie review used to feature in the middle of every flicks page but that was dropped in 2011 due to the space being needed for session time listings.
  • The Box – Reviews of television programs screening that night.
  • Program – That night's primetime (6:00pm - midnight) television listing.
  • Citybeat – A weekly entertainment section with an emphasis on all genres of popular music, including CD and movie reviews, concert listings, band interviews and trivia. Appears on Thursdays.
  • Goss & Glam – Magazine-style entertainment and fashion news. Located on the middle four pages.
  • Quickie – A short interview with a famous person.
  • CareerOne – Mainly job advertisements.
  • Flirt – A weekly section focusing on love and relationships. Appears on Fridays.

Staples

Some mX editions have been stapled, as they tend to remain contained and not blow around as much. This decision is also based on the capabilities of publishing equipment and whether binding systems are installed at the production facilities.

Theming

Occasionally the mX masthead is modified to capitalize on major events, such as a tennis ball and racquet during the Australian Open, and love hearts and using rose scented ink during Valentine's Day. On the day of the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the x was changed to a Union Jack and many pages said "The royal wedding" other pages said "Not the wedding"citation needed In the lead-up to both the 2007 federal election and 2010 federal election, the front page of each issue bore a "disclaimer" warning of the number of election stories (if any) contained within.citation needed

  • St. Patrick's Day editions have the blue captions replaced with green, and Irish themed stories fill the 'Did You Know' and 'What The?' sections.
  • Easter editions do not change colour; however, the 'Did You Know' and 'What The?' sections relate to modern Easter stories (Such as the world's largest easter egg).

See also

References

  1. ^ "News: mX first anniversary". Newsrail (Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division)). April 2002. 
  2. ^ "Vic: Herald Sun to cancel PM edition". AAP General News (Australia). www.highbeam.com. 2001-12-21. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  3. ^ Gibbons, Lawrence. Bill of rights needed. Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  4. ^ mX spreads to Brisbane, mX (Melbourne) 5 March 2007, page 4.

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