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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Unfair Fairfax argue staff as 300 walk off in Sydney, 100 march to the Industrial Commission
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: big media

The staff at Fairfax are "revolting" as the ambiguous old saw goes: Striking Fairfax workers risk fines says the rival Murdoch press The Australian.

We heard Gerard Noonan of Fairfax talking on ABC Trioli local radio show before 9 am, and Matthew Moore of Fairfax on the 9am news bulletin: Some talk about layoffs of 35 "production people" up to sub editors.

And David Kirk as one of the bosses is getting in front of the protest action with his own pro free speech presser middle of today, according to ABC World Today reporter Ashley Hall, transcript in due course here 10th May 2007, and reported here Media giants fight for free speech | | The Australian, and here Press unites in free speech fight | The Daily Telegraph

Curious times for micro news SAM blog reporting on Big Media protesters.

We had some fascinating converstions with some seriously senior media folks, including one from The Australian supporting the Herald staff.

Will the loss of these production people really change the political content of the paper ...sub editors do headlines, prominence, space I suppose? Answer: Absolutely - one person in senior management asked whether the journalists even write the headlines. Didn't even know the business of running newspapers.

What affect is the bleed of staff to The Australian from the Fin Review like? A tragedy came the answer.


What's the purpose of the lay offs? Various answers to this one:

- Greed. The company is very profitable but not phenomenally profitable like 10 years ago. The senior management are not moving with the times and think newspapers can profit as much they did before in a changing media world.

- accountancy madness. Don't understand the business, think people with similar job titles can do other peoples work.

We hear at the 1 pm news on abc radio that the staff have been ordered back to work and to talks later this afternoon. Mmm.

Postscript #1 at Mon 14th May 07

[bold added]

"Many old-school journalists see him as the devil incarnate, as this comment from a former employee attests: "Brian McCarthy's view of a newspaper is to fill the editorial with social pics and bland, non-threatening yarns and bland, non-threatening letters to the editor; The Sound of Music on newsprint.

"Newsrooms are staffed accordingly, mainly with kiddies from Bathurst who can't write, can't report and who think context is a coloured pencil. They roam around the country like itinerant shed hands, never engaging with communities, simply passing through them, the object a job on city television. I grew up in a community where the editor of the local paper was our collective memory. His taste and judgment reflected the sensibilities of the district. This did not mean we were shielded from life's unpleasantness; it was more how we were told, including the context. There were no screaming headlines sitting over nothingness.

"Rural Press has destroyed local journalism and, with it, the right of communities to know. Its newspapers no longer provide a trusted independent source of local stories of importance and interest. When there's a hole to fill and nothing to fill it with, editors can dive into Rural Press's feature bin and pluck out a yarn. Many of those yarns are fed straight into this bin by PR outfits.

"The name of the real game is aggregated advertising areas, a one-stop-fits-all shop for national, state and regional ad agencies. The advertising dollar drives Rural Press, nothing else, and nothing stands in its way in pursuing this goal, including journalistic integrity."

Kirk may have set the direction for Fairfax, but McCarthy is the one to watch. "

McCarthy shares narrow view as Fairfax goes frugal | Mark Day ... rival Murdoch press, Thursday 3/5/07 p18 The Australian, media section.

Posted by editor at 3:31 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007 10:09 AM NZT

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