While we don’t normally get involved in magazine affairs – and there’s an affair or two in ‘Paper giants: The birth of Cleo’ – so many newspaper people seem to have been involved in the ‘Cleo’ launch it’s good to make an exception.
Based on the events of 1972, the women’s magazine launch followed the loss of rights to ‘Cosmopolitan’ to Fairfax, and Sir Frank Packer’s sale of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ to Rupert Murdoch.
For myself, I missed the excitement, though my wife Maggie did a spell as a sub-editor on the new title and on ‘Australian Women’s Weekly’. In the days before copyfitting technology, that frequently meant the “nightmare” task of counting characters to make sure captions fitted snugly around nipples.
I returned from a visit to Australia to see her in 1977 – during which I also looked at a Goss Community tricolour unit, printing posters in the reel room of rival Southdown Press – clutching a copy of the still-fresh ‘Cleo’ which included a still-memorable cartoon of a august city building announcing itself as Sperm Bank. And a customer who was looking to make a night deposit…
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