Widespread redundancies are expected at News Corp in the coming days, with reports suggesting more than 50 staff from across the business will be let go.
Major mastheads including The Australian and metropolitan titles such as The Herald Sun are expecting cuts and it is journalists who lack digital skills that will be targeted specifically.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance trade union (MEAA) has condemned the decision, arguing News Corp has failed in equipping its staff with these skills.
“MEAA members in these newsrooms are angry News Corp is making further cuts when the company is also saying subscriptions are up, readership is up and online growth is outpacing their rivals,” said MEAA Media director Katelin McInerney.
“We believe this short-term cost-cutting strategy ignores the need to invest in journalism so that experienced editorial staff can pivot to digital platforms and produce quality editorial content such as the Walkley Award-winning Teacher’s Pet podcast series.
“This is what audiences want – investment in quality journalism not cost-cutting.”
Staff being targeted by the cuts are expected to be notified in the coming days.
The cuts come after News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller indicated the company is now looking for “new skills”.
“We’ll see some skills come into the company and unfortunately some people who have been here a while will be leaving,” Miller said in an interview with The Australian.
“That’s acknowledging the business and the consumers are changing and the business needs to change with that.
“As we get more data, we probably need some new skills journalistically into the business and we’re increasingly bringing in audio, video, social.”
It is more bad news for News Corp, which recently revealed Foxtel lost $417 million in the 2018 calendar year, excluding a $120 million tax benefit.