Fairfax and News Ltd editorial redundancies hit 700

By By Wenlei Ma | 4 September 2012

As News Limited launched a round of 80 redundancies from its sub-editing hub and regional Queensland papers, the union has estimated the total number of editorial staff lost from News and Fairfax has reached 700 people.

News Limited will make up to 80 staff redundant from NewsCentral, its sub-editing hub, and its publications in regional Queensland, according to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

According to a report in The Australian, editorial director Campbell Reid told staff the company would aim to reduce staff numbers in the affected divisions by redundancies, attrition and redeployment. The sub-editing jobs will be outsourced to Pagemasters by the end of October. Additionally, reporters and photographers will work across seven day rosters and metro editorial staff will now produce content for all mastheads and platforms.

The union estimated 700 jobs have gone from News Limited and Fairfax over the past few months as a result of widespread restructures at both companies. The MEAA said 300 editorial staff have been shed from News Limited, 280 from Fairfax and additional casuals and contributors.

The MEAA argued that latest round of retrenchments should be the last from the two publishers.

MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren said: “We believe that as many as one in seven journalism jobs in the big newspaper companies have been lost over the winter months – over 300 jobs from News Limited and about 280 jobs from Fairfax Media. Add in casuals and contributors and we believe about 700 people have gone from our two biggest media groups – reporters, sub-editors and photographers working in print and online plus the editorial and administrative staff who worked alongside them.

“That translates to a massive loss of skills, knowledge and expertise. We are seeing many of the great bylines that we have followed in our newspapers leave the profession. The danger is that there is a vacuum to be filled by those who remain, who face massive work intensification and the need to receive proper training to work in integrated, multi-platform digital newsrooms.”

Warren added that media companies should now focus on investing in journalism in the digital age.

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