In further proof that the journalism business isn’t the most stable of businesses, Fairfax Media has cut 120 journos in a major move to save some cash.
Other editorial costs such as travel and freelance budgets have been slashed in the shake up, in what’s reported to be the biggest loss of journalists since the company restructured four years ago, resulting in the business canning 1,900 staff.
According to a statement obtained by B&T, Fairfax’s editorial director Sean Aylmer told staff at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age the news in an email this morning.
“We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA [the media union] on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees,” he said.
“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.”
It comes after Fairfax announced senior shuffling recently, after the company returned a net profit of $27.4 million for the first half of the financial year despite newspaper circulation on the downer.
There is whispers of a ‘walkout’ as journalists hear the latest bad news, and Twitter seemed to be the place to go to air grievances.
Terrible news. Fairfax Media to cut 120 editorial jobs.
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) March 17, 2016
— Stephanie Peatling (@srpeatling) March 17, 2016
120 jobs to go across Melbourne and Sydney newsrooms at Fairfax. I honestly don’t know what is going to be left. Devastating.
— Jill Stark (@jillastark) March 17, 2016
Last month Fairfax reported print advertising revenue was down by 14 per cent and its property website Domain was keeping the company’s overall profits afloat.