Award-winning journalist and leading digital communicator Tom Burton has been appointed publisher for The Mandarin, Private Media’s new publication showcasing and sharing the work of Australia’s leading public servants.
“We are delighted to have Tom’s unique publishing, public sector and digital experience leading our efforts to create a venue for senior public servants helping to build a better community,” said Private Media CEO Marina Go.
Tom brings a wealth of experience in publishing, public administration and digital media. He is a former Walkley Award-winning journalist, covering politics, economics and communications for The Sydney Morning Herald and as the Canberra bureau chief of The Australian Financial Review. He saw early the opportunity the internet offered and under his leadership SMH.com.au became Australia’s No. 1 news site.
Tom first worked in Canberra as a law and economics graduate in the Department of Finance and most recently led the adoption of digital communications at the Australian Communications and Media Authority and has just completed a digital adviser role to the Department of Communications. He has been involved in a number of web start-ups and has a strong interest in public policy and how government can use digital media to build better outcomes for stakeholders and citizens.
Tom will work with former Crikey editor Jason Whittaker to provide a high-quality daily editorial offering about the issues relevant to senior public servants.
“Australia has a world-class public sector advising and implementing policy and programs in a complex and challenging political, media and stakeholder world,” Tom said. “Yet strangely there is not a place where our public sector leaders can share their work, experiences and learning among fellow public leaders so they can deliver better communities for all Australians.
“The Mandarin will be a place for agency heads and executives and those interested in their work to engage and collaborate around the development of policies, programs, projects and regulatory solutions, in this demanding and often contentious period of rapid change.
“There are many common issues public servants are working on, be they economic transformation and regional development, alcohol and violence, literacy and numeracy, obesity, digitalisation and cybersecurity, ageing and youth unemployment. We want The Mandarin to be a venue where programs and initiatives can be discussed and analysed in a thoughtful and considered way.
“There are also tremendous opportunities from the rising middle class of Asia and the digital era. The Mandarin will showcase the best projects for helping our cities and regions benefit from these profound changes.
“Leading Australia’s public agencies in a complex, fast-moving and demanding world requires intelligence and judgement, agility and resilience. Agency heads need to engage stakeholders and staff and we want The Mandarin to be a place where senior bureaucrats can share their vision and road maps for change.”
The Mandarin will also be of great interest for the many businesses and community organisations that want to gain insight into public policy making and program delivery. We hope this will better engage government with business and promote stronger collaboration and partnerships to build better communities.
Just as the scholarly officials of China, the Mandarins, successfully adapted their role over 13 centuries, the role of the modern Mandarin has changed significantly since the term was first used to refer to the powerful bureaucrats who ruled Canberra in the post-war period.