Fairfax prepares for employee cuts to save money

By Selim Unutmaz and Phil Sim in Media News on

Media giant Fairfax has announced to staff that its metropolitan newsrooms will undergo a major restructure, cutting headcount with the ambition of achieving a “sustainable publishing model”.

The communication from Chris Janz, the recently appointed managing director of Fairfax’s Australian Metro Publishing division, outlined the broader goals of the restructuring, which would lead into a “process of consultation” that began today with staff in its Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth newsrooms.

“As you know, the primary focus of Fairfax Media over recent years has been to lay the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable publishing model,” Janz wrote.

“Our goal is to increase the proportion of stories that reach a larger readership,” explained Janz.

“Of course there will be stories that need to be told, even if they don’t reach a large audience. As a trusted, quality publisher it is our duty. We will make smart decisions around stories through better commissioning and rigorous editing. We need to ask questions like, ‘is this piece of journalism worth paying for?’ And, ‘what are we aiming to achieve by writing this story, producing this video or graphic?”

Janz also outlined the financial expectations from the restructuring initiative.

"Including non-staff costs the proposal is expected to deliver approximately $30 million in annualised savings with the majority of these savings expected in the 2018 financial year,” the email said.

Newsrooms across The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday will all see changes following the company’s decision.  

“We are now within reach of that goal. With the proposed changes to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday newsrooms we are announcing today, we will have completed the major structural editorial changes required to secure our metropolitan mastheads.”

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