Alumni then and now

Stuart Simson, B Econ ’79


Stuart Simson grabbed the opportunity to get in early on the Internet, and has risen to be the chair of one of the largest digital advertising agencies in Australia.

Stuart came to Canberra in February 1973 as a cadet reporter with the Sun News-Pictorial newspaper where he worked with Laurie Oakes in the press gallery at Parliament House for the first parliamentary session of the Whitlam Government.

“It was at about that time I commenced a Bachelor of Economics degree part-time at ANU,” he says.

“I was working in the press gallery, and the Economics Faculty had a number of very strong identities such as Professors Peter Swan, Peter Drysdale and Ross Garnaut and [now Emeritus] Professor Stuart Harris.

“The real value I got out of doing economics at ANU was it supported my journalism – was able to make use of what I was learning at the University in what I was writing for the newspapers.

“I have fond memories of ANU and I’ve stayed in touch with some of the academics I worked with there at the time.”

During 12 years in Canberra, Simson also worked for the Australian Financial Review and was political correspondent for the National Times and later Business Review Weekly.

“I came to Melbourne in 1983 as editor of BRW and in 1993 I was appointed managing director of the Age and the Sunday Age,” he says.

“In 1994 I first came into contact in a serious way with the Internet when we put the IT job classifieds on the Internet. The Age was the first paper in Fairfax to do that.

“Even at that very early time I recognised the potential power of the Internet with classifieds. Since I left the Age, I have pretty much lived and breathed the Internet.”