Michael Smith

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Michael Smith was the editor of Melbourne's daily broadsheet The Age for 3 years before becoming the Australian Chairman of PR firm Weber Shandwick (then IPR Shandwick) in 1994. He is reported to have been lured to the PR business by Paul Kerr, former Age colleague and son of IPR founder Laurie Kerr:

"He was called in by his former Age colleague...to do a job for Visy boss Richard Pratt, who was under investigation by the National Crime Authority. After Pratt had effectively stone-walled the media, Smith encouraged Pratt to open up and tell his story. Another of Smith's friends at The Age, David Wilson, was given access and ran a story about the complex life of Pratt, which effectively allowed him to answer his NCA critics. Pratt was never charged by the NCA and Wilson now works with Smith at Shandwick." (Andrew Dodd, "The makeover merchant", The Australian, December 9 1999)

With over 25 years experience in journalism, Smith had an interesting perspective on the relationship between PR and the media:

"The way the media is structured at the moment makes it a lot easier for public relations people because of all these lifestyle entertainment specialist sections. They're hungry for copy, whereas 20, 25 years ago, I guess, public relations people would have had to fight their way into the news sections of the newspaper." (quoted in Andrew Dodd, "The makeover merchant", The Australian, December 9 1999)

After leaving IPR Shandwick, Smith set up his own firm Inside PR in Melbourne. He is now the CEO of Inside PR, which is described as having been "backed" by client Steve Vizard's business associate Shaun Levin. Vizard has been a member of Inside PR's advisory board. [1]


  • Andrew Dodd, "The makeover merchant", The Australian, December 9, 1999.
  • David Elias and Bridie Smith, "How a $1m team spun a sweet deal - Steve Vizard's fall from grace", The Age, July 6, 2005.
  • David Elias and Bridie Smith, "Steve's sweet deal", The Age, July 6, 2005.
  • Steven Mayne, "The Vizard media feeding frenzy", Crikey, July 20 2005