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Thread: Fairfax Media Job Cuts

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    Fairfax Media Job Cuts

    The following is an article just released about Fairfax newspapers - not really good if you are employed in a newspaper at the moment.


    Fairfax Media will move The Sydney Morning Herald and The Ageto a tabloid and sack 1900 staff — including 380 editorial positions — as part of a massive cost-cutting drive to save the media giant from corporate oblivion.
    In the bombshell announcement delivered via a technically plagued internal staff webcast this morning, CEO Greg Hywood said 20% of the cuts would come from editorial, 20% from printing and the remainder from unspecified other activities.
    In a separate ASX announcement, the company also revealed it was turning The Age and The SMH into tabloids — or “compacts” as it describes it — as part of its $170 million three-year “Fairfax of the Future” strategy. The first cut-down editions will start in March next year.
    Hywood also announced that digital paywalled subscriptions will be introduced to metro masthead websites on a “metered” basis, with details due by the end of 2012. The ailing firm will also press ahead with its “digital first” editorial model, forcing hacks to file multiple times for online during the day.
    The company’s Tullamarine and Chullora printing presses will close by June 2014, saving the company $44 million annually. Tullamarine opened to much fanfare in 2003; Chullora employs 230 permanent full-time staff and 140 casuals. The decision raises the prospect thatThe Age will be printed at regional facilities like Ballarat and shipped to the Melbourne CBD early each morning.
    The total savings from the dual moves will come in at $235 million annually with one-off costs (mostly redundancies) of $248 million after land sales are factored in.
    Hwyood, a former Australian Financial Review cadet, said he would be booking a “substantial” number of redundancies in the next 60 to 90 days.
    The media giant currently employs 800 metropolitan journalists across The Age, The Herald, The Canberra Times and its Brisbane and Perth web portals. Crikey understands that 150 editorial positions will be cut from the metro division, including potentially 50 from The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
    While it will be hard, it will change the business for the better. I urge people to think twice before challenging the changes,” he told staff, adding it is “the greatest chance to be a profitable or sustainable business in the future”.
    He said the strategy was about bringing the fixed cost base down and relieving pressure on revenues, adding that company was “carrying a cost base that is way over what you need”.
    Earlier this morning, Fairfax said it had reaped $166 million by selling off 15% of New Zealand auction site TradeMe. It will continue to hold a majority 51% stake in the company. Hywood also revealed that Fairfax had considered spinning off the metro businesses, as recommended by some analysts.
    Analyst Peter Cox told Crikey that it was the right thing to do, but came ten years too late. “It’s the correct action but it’s too late. The board have been asleep at the wheel for the past five to ten years.”
    Fairfax management made three big mistakes: they didn’t charge online much earlier (public now used to free content); they failed to see how many people would abandon print for online and failed to capture classified rivers of gold online.”
    The metered paywall, Cox said, “was purely a survival technique to get costs below revenue. Of course, this will help Fairfax survive for the time being but it doesn’t mean the company has a future.”
    Fairfax shares jumped 4% at the open to 63.5 cents before slipping to 62 cents as the news sunk in. The company had been trading for months at record lows, having lost 15% of its value this year.
    Mining entrepreneur Gina Rinehart last week upped her stake in the company to 18% and is pushing for a board seat for herself and her close adviser, fast food king Jack Cowin.
    Last edited by Kym; 18-06-2012 at 12:50pm.

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    For Adelaide - Advertiser/Sunday Mail has laid off a lot of photographers and writers, and have now moved into the same floor of the building as the Messenger newspaper - as they had their own floor before. Losing a lot of money I have heard.....!

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    A combination of the Internet and expanded FTA Digital TV means news is more available than every before and the traditional print media will struggle.
    As a result of competing with instant digital news channels which have a different cost structure the quality of newspaper journalism has also declined.

    Welcome the the 21st century.
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    Way back before the printing press, news was delivered by the town crier and then by word of mouth. The printing press saw the role of Town Crier all but vanish.

    Now the internet has taken over and the printing press is losing ground. Sad for the journalists and staff, but this has been coming for years. I never buy a newspaper anymore.

    I reckon within 10 years or so, most newspapers will have all but disappeared.
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    we got the bulletin today they are looking at only 20 odd percent print the rest electronic media by subsciption
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    I won't be subscribing. A flawed model. Many years ago they should have set up a premium subscription service as well as a free, advertising supported mass media site.

    Newspapers as we know it are dying and as they go, the quality goes down and the price goes up.

    It will only be a couple of years before the SMH is gone.
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    Finally, it's all a load of carp. The world will go into meltdown, and we might as well all go fission!
    BTW, any news?
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    So we miss out on the chance to buy one eyed opinionated news articles on fish and chip wrapping ?

    I won't be crying, nor will I be subscribing online.

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    Funny Faifax owned local paper is now employing me as a TOG on a casual as needs basis - on the day this was announced....
    First gig this Friday - No i don't intend it to be a full time career with them....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
    So we miss out on the chance to buy one eyed opinionated news articles on fish and chip wrapping ?

    I won't be crying, nor will I be subscribing online.
    Oh Art, what would you do if we ever lost the Townsville Bulletin..?
    Wouldn't you miss the overdramatic, sensationalist headlines about trivial things, incorrect grammar, poorly written articles, and hard hitting news stories that get most facts wrong?
    Apart from the above points raised, it is a great read!
    Last edited by MattNQ; 21-06-2012 at 4:01pm.
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    Matt, the Townsville Bulletin is a perfect example of the loss of independent reporting. Sadly the once respected regional newspaper is now just another News Ltd mouthpiece.

    I hear whispers of several old hand journos about town who recently gathered funding to start up an independant alternative. Online only & not your typical blog dribble. Be interesting to see if it comes together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffde View Post
    Funny Faifax owned local paper is now employing me as a TOG on a casual as needs basis - on the day this was announced....
    First gig this Friday - No i don't intend it to be a full time career with them....

    and so it begins...
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    And gets worse. A fool travels 30 mins and turns up to cover a sports event. A home event in a normal home/away competition format and the events which the fool regularly covers for the commercial client.

    The fool readies himself to shoot the event, the game begins and the fool notices one of the competitors whom just completed the prior lower grade event, walk over close to himself with a camera and start shooting. The fool, thinking the competitor is getting some shots for himself or the club facebook site, starts a conversation while shooting away.

    The competitor tells the fool he is now supplying the commercial client with shots of all their club's events and after prompting from the fool, tells the fool he's only getting accreditation because unlike the fool it's only an interest, for a bit of fun and to get shots for the club, so he can't expect to get paid.

    So the fool later learns from the client that he will no longer have those events to cover. But the fool realises it doesn't stop just there as clients from the home towns/cities of the visiting clubs are also regularly supplied with the fools products but will in future be supplied with the player's free product through the client in a "I'll pat your back if you pat mine!" agreement.

    For this regular event, the home town/city client and the away town/city clients no longer exist on the fool's books.

    But wait for it, there's more. The previous week the fool travelled 3 hours to cover a sporting event of a different kind for a commercial client only to find out after the fact that the client was to be supplied with a free product from a local and will continue to do so in the future.

    Again and as above, this regular event is added to the growing list of the home town/city client and the away town/city clients that no longer exist on the fool's books.

    You know what they say about fools, eh?

  14. #14
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    I agree with Kym & Rick, this will be the way of the future. The sackings have everything to do with economics as does downsizing the papers to tabloid. In this instance, only advertisers will stand to lose as they will no longer have access to full page ads in the larger format. You have to move with the times or get left behind and go out of business. News photographers will lose work, however, as with any profession, you should never work on the assumption of having a job for life. As for on-line newspaper editions ( and, perhaps, PDF and e-reader editions for those who wish to read at leisure ), only time will tell if they are a success or not.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I wonder how much income the brands earn from all their online presences. They all have ads splashed across their 'news' website. To the point that some have ads that pop-up, slide out, or even frame the entire news articles. There must be some money being generated from the online presences.

    I just think its a dynamic shift in the way people (public) gather the information they want. They no longer buy papers, choosing to read it online.

    I also wonder how many trees are no longer needing to be chopped down to produce newsprint, compared to say 20 years ago. People are generally more environmentally aware and certainly there are probably a few who get their news online, believing they are helping the environment.

    Newspapers, and probably soon enough, magazines are all going to find their printed circulation is not enough to sustain their current business model.

    For me, there is also., sadly, the decline in journalistic quality. The papers are so full of crap dressed up to look like news that they are not worth buying. The line between gossip celebrity magazines and what were quality news providers has become seriously blurred and I don't really care if Kylie has slagged off at Madonna, or Ozzy has gone on a bender. Of if some guy has tweeted about something or someone.
    Last edited by ricktas; 26-06-2012 at 5:35am.

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    Of even more significance in my opinion is the ramifications of Rhineharte's push regarding control of Fairfax, it's editorial independence and content for the sole purpose of servicing the personal business and political interests of an individual with the 1950's conservative views and contempt for democratic principles inherited from her father. With papers in 5 major cities, numerous regional centres and country towns plus major radio stations, the potential for influence is enormous.

    Lump this in with the existing 'tabloid ethics' of News Corp and we end up with the only two major media companies in the country controlling the same editorial opinion and political agenda with little room left for journalistic independence, integrity and diversity of opinion.

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    So you don't think the Sydney Mineral Herald will be a good thing ?

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    I'll pay that one As i heard someone say the other day, we have noting to worry about because Gina will treat us like we are members of her own family. Hell, everyone run.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Re Gina. Rupert Murdoch controls about 70% of the Australian Print media. I reckon we should be looking at his influence, not just where Gina wants it to go, with her 18% or so of Fairfax.

    No wonder so many get their news from other sources, when even a perceived taint to these company's fair and equitable reporting means we look elsewhere for our information

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    Both Rupert and Rhinehart should be looked at thoroughly but of the two major political parties, Rupert and Rhinehart are advantageous to one with whom they have a traditional 'I'll pat your back and you pat mine agreement' and the other party either doesn't have the numbers or the political guts to not fear the political backlash they'd get from a couple of very cranky, powerful media owners with the ethics of sewer rats.

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