Peter Jonson - Internet Publisher: HenryThornton.com
- 27th May 2003
be happy to do an interview, but wouldn't you prefer
to interview Henry himself"?
is Henry Thornton?
Thornton is the nom de plume of a prominent economist.
The site honours the memory of a famous dead economist,
and caters for public figures who wish to write but
not always under their own names. I am the founder
and editor of HenryThornton.com.
What's your background?
am a professional director and economist. My first
career was an an economist at the Reserve
Bank - this career came to an end after I had
the courage to confront Treasurer Paul
Keating at "Banana Republic" time.
We had a good stouse, he was wrong and I was right
and he eventually followed my advice, but he never
forgave me! My second career was as an executive in
the private financial services business, where I ran
two substantial Funds Management businesses. Now I
sit on Boards with a wide variety of exciting businesses.
Henry Thornton.com is the main public manifestation
of my economic views, and those of a band of like-minded
people. We generally have "Hard heads and warm
What are your aims and objectives?
aim in a professional sense is never again to work
with people I do not like. The aims of the contributors
to the site are to have fun and present sensible views
on economics and related subjects - which means a
lot of areas, including politics and investments -
to intelligent people who are often confused by the
mainstream sources of news and opinion in this area.
areas of news do you specialize in?
is Henry's specialty, but politics, investment markets,
finance,corporate and governance issues are all relevant
from time to time. Certainly the site covers many
of the issues that come up in my role as a Company
Director. I am currently doing a lot of work at the
intersection of science and commerce, so we follow
issues in that space. We cover in a light-hearted
way sport, movie reviews, food and wine and a bit
of tourism. In December 2002 I filed copy from the
railway station in Florance. Some of the material
on sport get a lot of readers.
is the advantage of online news media websites?
main advantage is that such a site can develop a distinct
approach which can sometimes provide insights not
available in the mainstream. Some people like our
summaries of mainstream views - saves then from all
that reading. We say that we present the views of
a "highly experienced, not to say cynical, team."
freedom of the press in Australia?
press is very free by world standards, but (naturally)
lacks the depth of the press in the USA and UK.
are and have been your milestone?
The first site, developed by a relative, Fiona Prior.
The second site, developed by Wiliam.com.
The third site, with much improved functionality,
again developed by Wiliam.com.
Reaching 20,000 hits one week early this year (the
record is 28,000)
Earning the first income from the site early this
year, sufficient to cover the cash outlays! Wow! Going
forward - maintain standards, find interesting commercial
opportunities, without being neurotic about the financial
other professional and personal hobbies do you have?
do not regard Henry Thornton.com as only a "hobby"
- it keeps me up-to-date with my profession of economics
and one day may make enough money to be interesting.
Personally, all my spare time goes into the family
- kid, sport, movies, holidays, the occasional meal
at a kid-friendly restaurant.
other news media websites and traditional news outlets
do you deal with?
Online Opinion, your site. Pierpont's site has a lot
good, sardonic corporate material. Satire.com based
in Silicon Valley was a ripper but the owner has stopped
posting new material.
are your main challenges in the media business?
Keeping readers interested in the content, providing
specialised competition for the mainstream media services,
eventually perhaps finding a lucrative niche that
supplements a mainstream offering.
media outlets and journalists do you respect?
is a fair list of journos - Paul Kelly, Paddy McGuinness,
Alan Wood, Alan Mitchell, Alan Kohler, Michelle Grattan,
John Garnaut at the SMH
is beginning to have some good material, many others
from time to time. The ABC Insiders
on Sunday morning beats the commercial stuff hands
down by being distinctly non-pompous about it all.
Australia's cartoonists are generally sensational
- clearly world's best. I read The
Economist and subscribe to the online version
of major US and UK newspapers - but don't read them
as often or as thoroughly as I would like to do.
other important information would you like to share
with our media savvy audience?
HenryThornton.com, provide feedback if you feel moved
to do so, consider becoming a contributor or Goldmember
- or "Goldiewag" in my kids' description.
note: Greg Tingle will become a regular contributor