Fairfax Media aims to save $30m with editorial restructure

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 5 April 2017

Fairfax Media is undergoing a major editorial restructure that will see it axe more journalist jobs in an attempt to save $30 million this year. 

Announced to the ASX this morning, Fairfax Media says the changes are required secure the futures of its metropolitan mastheads, including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Fairfax MD of Australian metro publishing Chris Janz says the proposed changes prepare Fairfax for a stronger future.

“With the proposed changes to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today newsrooms announced today, we will have completed the major structural editorial changes required to secure our metropolitan mastheads,” he says.

Janz was brought on at Fairfax at the end of last year as the “centrepiece” of the metro’s next generation publishing model, said CEO Greg Hywood in company's recent financial results.

“The primary focus of Fairfax Media over recent years has been to lay the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable publishing model. We are now within reach of that goal,” Janz says.

“Including non-staff costs the proposal is expected to deliver approximately $30m in annualised savings with the majority of these savings expected in the 2018 financial year.

“The changes announced today will prepare us for a stronger future, with a business focused on growth and innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality, independent journalism."

In May last year Fairfax cut 120 editorial jobs from its papers, which led to questions being raised about the future direction of the company.

Janz adds in his statement that Fairfax will continue with print "for so many years", so long as the newspapers have an audience and advertisers.

The comment follows reports last year that Fairfax will eventually cull its weekday papers in favour for weekend and a digital focus. Fairfax says that will not happen this year.

“Our publications will be genuine digital businesses with the capabilities and cost base to best operate in the current media environment. We will be introducing an innovative mix of new products to deliver our audience focused, quality journalism and maximise our revenue opportunities," he says.

Speculation has been mounting over the past few weeks that TPG could buy out Fairfax. 

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