Domain apologises for corrupt journalism

MB has been unearthing the practice of misrepresenting realtors and friends as objective sources for many years. Now this:

Dear readers,

At Domain, we strive to be the trusted voice on property. We have always been proud of our editorial heritage and the standards we set out to meet in each article we publish.

Unfortunately, we have discovered we did not meet the high standards we expect of ourselves. We owe you an apology.

We were recently alerted that two lifestyle articles misrepresented someone as a source. When this became clear, we removed these articles and the journalist involved has since left Domain.

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that this was not an isolated incident and the journalist had in fact misrepresented other people and their professions.

For this, we are sorry. We have since commenced a full investigation into all of the journalist’s work. We are committed to investigating this matter and setting the record straight.

I want to express to you, our valued readers, how disappointed we are at this conduct. It goes against everything we value at Domain, and, most importantly, it is a severe breach of the confidence you place in us to bring you trusted and reliable information.

We hold ourselves to extremely high standards to ensure that you receive the most reliable property information in Australia. We can and will do better.


Adrian Lowe

Editorial director

Of course you will because that’s what real estate always does.

That sarcastically said, in my half-arsed qualitative assessment, the broader media offering at the metropolitan dailies has improved since the Nine takeover of what was a very broken Fairfax house.

It is the only masthead that now walks the middle political path and even its realty coverage seems more contained.

Perhaps this apology is a part of this improvement.

Yet…real estate…

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    How many years has domainfax been doing this again?………..

    Would be at least 10 by my reckoning. How many times have they been caught out? Plenty!

    This one must be particularly ripe….

  2. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Is this misrepresentation as in the endless ‘random FHB plunges in’ when a quick Google shows they or their partner usually work at a real estate agency? Apologising seems so passe.

    • In a private letter to The Age’s Editor in 2004 I asked what policy the newspaper had for separating marketing and advertising from actual “journalism”. The reply I got pretty much indicated that any halfwit would know the difference based on the different inserts; news; advertising dressed up news; advertising dressed up as lifestyle; propaganda dressed up as advertising; and plain vanilla advertising.

      Apparently, a great wall of integrity separated “journalists” from the marketing lampreys who swam in another tank.

      Who would have thought that the practice of misrepresenting real estate and advancing friends (such as ex-Age COS Innes Willox into his spin-doctor career) became an issue?!

      We know that Fairfax isn’t serious until they do some actual “journalism” on how the Real Estate industry has been manipulating those clearance rate figures since the dawn of speculator time, and look into the national ulcer that the Real Estate-Banking-Media cartel has become.

      “We hold ourselves to extremely high standards to ensure that you receive the most reliable property information in Australia.”

      Yeah, right, but Innes and his hookworm ilk will always be welcome to pick up the tab when it comes to real news about “business”. ‘Cause Failrfax “journalists” are worse than Drug Squad coppers when it comes to exposing their own.

  3. Then you missed it, because this wasn’t an apology.

    This was a non-apology apology.

    Dead giveaway “We owe you an apology.”

    Yes, you do. But never did they say they apologise, only that they owe you one.

    And that’s how you do it.

    • “We are sorry” is a kind of an apology. Of course, it’s more likely that they are feeling sorry for themselves for being caugh out.

    • Perhaps we should write and say we’d like to cash in the apology owed – and inquire how they’d like to settle the debt.

  4. And what pray tell, were they actually not apologising for??? What was the ‘fake’ article misleading us on specificaly?
    And don’t tell me that they weren’t encouraged to do this by their management when they didn’t have a legit story line!

  5. The Man With No HomeMEMBER

    Isn’t the editor ultimately responsible for what stories are released? This Lowe fella should go as well.

  6. The writer was Kate Bartels who has obviously been sacked.

    Presumably some sub-editors would be a bit nervous as well if this has been going on for a while. And there looks like some sloppy HR work too.

  7. First thing I read in Domainfax this morning and immediately thought of all the MacroBusiness articles over the years highlighting Domain’s bullshit stories on the property market. Whoda thought they’d finally fess up about phoney journalism!

      • A bit like those anonymous sources who heard Trump mock dead soldiers and veterans during a visit to France in 2018 …

        But it’s true – no doubt 😉

  8. Haywood JablomyMEMBER

    What a dope. You could hardly call it journalism though. How would you ever differentiate between real and fabricated amongst that dross? Maybe a good idea not to ‘quote’ actual living people who might take exception though. Typical of the fake it til you make it ethos so prevalent these days.

  9. Going to be running on Mediawatch tonight

    Of course it had to be only about a junior reported making up quotes – yet for years we’ve had silence on the all those new FHB telling everyone it’s all good, despite being heavily linked to the RE industry.

    • It’s always a junior who takes the fall — they offer to pay them what looks like a hefty sum and get them to sign a NDA, the threat being that if they breach it could ruin a nascent career.