Interstate mix and match from mX

In May 2015 publisher News Corp decided to shut down the free ‘mX’ newspaper after years of falling circulation. Targeted at commuters in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – the newspaper had for years had saved money by sharing content between the three markets, with only slight modifications appearing in each local edition.

Handing out copies of mX to afternoon commuters at Footscray station

The letters page was the most common place to find city-specific references – you’ll only find V/Line in Victoria.

Captain Obvious - "Was the V/Line train late?"

You won’t find myki outside of Melbourne either.

"Looking for a girl with Myki trouble" - you need to be a bit more specific!

This side by side comparison of the Melbourne and Sydney editions of mX illustrates the slight page layout changes that result from the different selection of letters per edition.

Melbourne vs. Sydney - two editions of mX

On occasion the reuse of content in mX also stretched to the graphics – this photoshopped train had “Flinders Street” text added in the Melbourne edition, but “Wynyard” in the Sydney edition.

Copy and paste between mX editions

Plus the photo is of a Melbourne train.

At times ambiguous locations tripped up the editor – there are ‘Central’ stations in both Sydney and Brisbane, as well as a ‘Melbourne Central’ station down south.

Which 'Central' station did they see the hottie at?

Both Melbourne and Sydney have a suburb called Epping with a railway station, but only one city has a ‘M54’ bus route serving it.

All aboard the M54 bus from Epping station

Route M54 is a ‘Metrobus’ route operated by Sydney Buses

There isn’t a Meadowbank in Victoria, so this letter in the Melbourne edition was another slipup.

'Meadowbank' isn't a station in Melbourne!

Occasionally the news section would also trip up on a state-specifc reference – this article about scholarships from the NSW based ‘Universities Admissions Centre‘ is of little use to a Victorian.

Article from the Sydney edition accidentally included in the Melbourne version

Until the 2015 relaunch of mX, the front page of each issue featured a city-specifc weather report. On at least one occasion, the Melbourne edition received a much more sunnier forecast than usual.

Mixup at the layout stage - Brisbane weather report in the Melbourne edition

In this case, the forecast was for Brisbane

And finally – the advertisements. Selling ad space in the newspaper was the only way that News Corp made any money out of mX, so there were plenty of them – often city specific.

PTV was a big spender, given the target market of mX being an exact match for their service update notifications.

PTV finally run advertisements advising of that route 75 trams no longer use Spencer Street

But occasionally advertisements from interstate slipped through the cracks, such as this one for a Sydney fun run.

Sydney fun run advertised in the Melbourne issue of mX

I’m not sure how many 9 to 5 commuters in Melbourne are available at 1pm on a Friday to compete in a fun run located 800-odd kilometres away!

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4 Responses to “Interstate mix and match from mX”

  1. mpp says:

    I used to read the mX in Melbourne. It was a handy way to get through the blackspot of the city loop where there is no mobile phone reception and nothing to see out the window!

    But I stopped picking up the mX some time ago. Why?

    – the newspapers give off quite a lot of black ink on your hands (and then your clothes)
    – the amount of interesting content has dropped off, to the point where I could be finished with the darned thing after travelling just one station!
    – trains have become busier, so it’s harder to find enough space to open and read the paper comfortably

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Once upon a time I used to commute Geelong-Melbourne each day, and somehow mX managed to give me enough lightweight puff to occupy me for much of the hour long journey.

      Nowadays I’m in the same boat as you – I flick through the entire thing in a few minutes, and I’m through.

  2. Albert3801 says:

    I’m from Sydney and one id my friends in Melbourne would sometimes come up armed with a dozen mX from Melbourne and strategically leave them on seats on Sydney Trains. I’d do the same when I went to Melbourne. This was back in the days when the editions shared very lite content. The look of confusion on people’s faces when they read the “wrong” edition was priceless!

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