Huge day of developments in the media industry, pals. Fairfax Media is in turmoil after management announced that as many as 120 jobs will be slashed from its newsrooms in a desperate bid to cut costs and improve the bottom line.
Fairfax journalists at The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Financial Review, and in Fairfax’s Canberra office have all voted to strike in protest of the decision, which was relayed to staff in a company-wide email this morning.
Editorial director Sean Aylmer wrote to staff that the move will reduce costs in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms, despite the mountainous task the editorial department staff has pulled off in recent months in fully transitioning Fairfax into a digital-first operation.
We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees.
We believe that we can do this through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.
Our decisions will be based on our understanding of our audience and the importance of our brands. Our reporting will continue to focus on investigations, state and federal politics, justice and breaking news, sport, entertainment and business.
While we are much more efficient in producing quality journalism, we still have a way to go.
Change is a permanent part of our industry. It is a reflection of what we know about the ways our readers are consuming our stories. We must continue to evolve with them.
I will be holding staff meetings in Sydney today and in Melbourne tomorrow to discuss the proposal.
The Media, Entertainment, & Arts Alliance, the representing union, pulled no punches in relaying their bitter displeasure at the idea of so many job losses – the equivalent of 25% of the entire editorial workforce at Fairfax. In a Facebook post made this afternoon, the MEAA vowed to fight the cuts to the bitter end.
Fairfax Media has announced it will be cutting another 120 FTE jobs from its Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms – equivalent…
And just a short while ago, journos and staff in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra all voted to strike effective immediately, in stop-work action that will be in effect until first shift on Monday, meaning that all Fairfax publications will grind to a halt and remain dormant over the weekend.
— Adrian Nesbitt (@Nez72) March 17, 2016
So both The Age and SMH on strike until Monday. Again, thanks to (most) people for your support. #fairgofairfax
— Rohan Connolly (@rohan_connolly) March 17, 2016
— Marcus Strom (@strom_m) March 17, 2016
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) March 17, 2016
— Anna Henderson (@annajhenderson) March 17, 2016
— ????? (@schetzer) March 17, 2016
120 jobs (or even a number coming anywhere near that) is a massive blow for journos, writers, subs, photographers, editors, and designers in this country. Particularly after a period of immense hard work that has ensured Fairfax publications have a firm, leading place in the modern digital-first media model.
For whatever it’s worth, the PEDESTRIAN.TV editorial department stands firmly with our colleagues, friends, and fellow-editorial industry pros at Fairfax in this latest, and grossly unjust, attempt to whisk away their livelihoods in the name of saving a few bucks.
Give ’em hell, pals.
Photo: Daisy Dumas/Twitter.