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Australian journalists strike as Fairfax sheds more editorial staff

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Australian journalists strike as Fairfax sheds more editorial staff

These latest cuts - predominantly affecting photographers and sub-editors - amount to a 10% cull of editorial staff. They follow the axeing of 1900 Fairfax Media jobs in Australia through redundancy in 2012. Half of them were editorial positions. 

Miki Perkins, a journalist with Fairfax's flagship Melbourne newspaper The Agelive-tweeted the meeting called by the paper's Editor In Chief Andrew Holden to announce the cuts to staff.

 

 

As the news broke, Fairfax journalists also turned to their Facebook communities to share their distress. One Sydney Morning Herald journalist updated her status with: "Such a sad day for quality journalism: up to 80 staff to go at at The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. More outsourcing. Skeletal photographic department."

Another from The Age wrote: "Another step closer to a Murdoch-only media landscape... To say the mood in the newsroom is bleak would be an understatement. Death by a thousand paper cuts. Incredibly sad."

As the staff voted to strike for 24 hours, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) Federal Secretary Chris Warren described today's announcement as "...an assault on quality journalism", and would further erode the ability of editorial staff to do their jobs. 

 

However, one of Fairfax's Managing Directors, Allen Williams, emailed staff, warning them that they may be sacked for taking strike action: "In addition to docking a minimum of 4 hours pay (as required under legislation), the company will also consider taking disciplinary action against those employees who participate in any unlawful industrial action, which may include the possibility of terminating your employment." 

Fairfax posted a (AUD) $16 million loss in the last financial year, under the leadership of CEO Greg Hywood. Earlier this month the stable's Australian Financial Review suffered a globally embarrassing production failure, when the prestige paper was published with a series of astounding sub-editing failures on the front page.

Author

Julie Posetti's picture

Julie Posetti

Date

2014-05-07 11:59

Author information

The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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