Fairfax community media to cut 71 regional jobs instead of 80

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 16 April 2015

Fairfax Media has reduced the proposed number of regional staff cuts to its community media division.

The publisher told staff of the changes today and Victoria's The Border Mail is reporting that as a result of feedback from the consultation period, the company expects voluntary redundancies of about 71 full-time positions across the state.

This includes about 57 editorial roles, mostly from management, sub-editing and photography, with the balance coming from administration and sales.

The original plan proposed voluntary redundancies of about 80 full-time equivalent positions, including 62 from editorial.

The Border Mail said the changes affect fewer than five front-line reporter positions statewide, with journalist, photography and administration positions added after consultation.

In a statement to The Border Mail, director of Fairfax Australian Community Media (ACM) John Angilley said the decision outlined to employees on Thursday was aimed at refreshing and revitalising all 13 mastheads serving local communities across Victoria.

“We are committed to our Victorian mastheads and the restructure will make them sustainable into the foreseeable future,” Angilley said.

“We are pleased that our communities care about our journalism as much as we do. That support, coupled with our changes, will ensure our newspapers and websites remain strong local voices and are as vibrant, locally focused and useful as our readers want them to be.”

The job cuts come as ACM commences an 18-month overhaul of the division.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has condemned the cuts with Carolyn Dunbar, the MEAA’s acting regional director for Victoria, releasing a statement saying: “Fairfax has opted to ignore the suggestions of its staff who are most familiar with the operations of its businesses. Instead, the company has continued to go down the same wrong path of slashing jobs and starving regional mastheads of vital resources.

"In the end, regional communities are the losers because there are fewer journalists on the ground and because the quality of the journalism is placed under stress because there are too few people remaining to put out the news stories that our communities deserve.”

Fairfax Media could not be reached for comment and it is not clear when the voluntary redundancy program commences.

Update: a statement from Fairfax confirms the cuts saying there will be a call for voluntary redundancies of around 71 full-time equivalent employees across Victorian operations.

The number includes around 57 newsroom roles such as management, sub-editing and photography. Fewer than five of these editorial roles are front-line reporters. Some administration staff and sales roles are included in the total number.

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