Unfolding in Australia, but obviously relevant here, and bad news in every way:
Fairfax journalists condemn proposed $30m job cuts and political positioning
The following extracts are not in the original order:
The newly appointed managing director of Australian Metro Publishing, Chris Janz, has said the editorial budget will take a $30m cut but has not indicated how much of that is staff cuts. It is understood the majority will come from staff losses.
“We call on the company to provide a clear estimate of what proportion of the $30m cuts will come from editorial job losses,” staff said. “Without details around proposed job cuts, this is not a genuine consultation. We call on the company to guarantee select staff will get access to confidential financial information and any other relevant business information to allow us to genuinely participate.”
Media jobs are under attack almost everywhere. Good luck to the Fairfax workforce. The second part of the story is just as bad:
On Wednesday the company stunned journalists at the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald when it outlined a new political strategy in a five-page document about an editorial restructure.
“Our pro-investor, pro-consumer view of business is central to our influence in the economic and business community,” the company said in Metro Journalism – The way ahead. We believe in the merits of market-based solutions to economic challenges and an Australia that rewards aspiration and hard work. We want to be at the political centre of the rigorous debate over how best to achieve these important objectives.”
Sources said the chief executive, Greg Hywood, and his management team were afraid the Herald’s reputation for being leftwing was hurting the advertising department.
Google and Facebook are hurting your advertising department, you have no idea what to do, you’re clutching at straws that will not save you, but whatever. Staff responded:
“We reject any ideological direction,” a stop-work resolution on Thursday said. “We report the facts fairly and accurately without fear or favour. We call out the company’s pernicious ideological interference and the fact that coercion was buried in their mission statement.”
Good on you Farifax staff, fighting this rearguard action for independent media. You know it’s a battle worth fighting, even though it’s a losing battle of course. Money talks, always has, always will. Unfortunate that it has nothing wise to say.