The Fairfax fortnight

In this guest post, anonymous for obvious reasons, a Fairfax journalist describes the toxic atmosphere within a newsroom in turmoil – but argues that there are those who still take pride and even see a new future.

Fourteen days ago Fairfax announced 1900 job cuts, seven days ago the editors resigned, on Friday we received a letter from Gina Rinehart. In that time, everyone has had their say. Management to media, union representatives to industry experts, even a few publicists who possibly regret their timing, if not their tone.

Yet in a fraught, exhausting and emotional fortnight, in which reports of sleep loss and nausea from colleagues are commonplace, the most regular voices, the ones that have been most consistently heard, and in some ways most hurtful, have been those guised in friendship or camaraderie.

From the first announcement, many, if not all Fairfax employees had family and friends get in touch to express concern, sympathy and empathy. These were the people who would make contact in any time of crisis.

Then the second wave began, the acquaintances and professional contacts, those who feel they have a relationship not just with you, but with Fairfax as a reader.

Those conversations always seem to begin with the seemingly loaded “how are you?” – a question I now dread – then swiftly morph into a conversation in which they sympathise with the situation by explaining what is wrong with Fairfax and then bludgeoning you with it.

Fairfax hasn’t delivered decent newspapers or proper stories, or it has neglected its readers we are told. All statements that are entirely subjective, but more importantly primarily the editorial staff’s concern, not management’s. So pity soon becomes an unwitting accusation of ineptitude. “How are you?” rapidly becomes “Just how stupid are you?” In return for being threatened with redundancy, we get blamed for every change in the media landscape.

Readers are responding the same way, just look at our online comments. Stories on any topic are gathering comments from bravely anonymous individuals, bashing the organisation, the story and the writer, all in the name of protest. I’ll be honest with you, the CEO doesn’t read many comments sections, but the writers do, the editors do. Journalists own their stories, own their paper, not on the share market but in their hearts and souls. Suggesting an article is an example of what is wrong with Fairfax’s current policy only hurts the journalist the commenter is apparently upset to lose.

Express concern over redundancies, condemn our employers for uncertainty, but don’t swaddle us in abuse of our work. Right now, those we speak to and those we hear from are lashing us with rage wrapped in pity.

Not that the journalists of Fairfax have made life easy either. In the last fortnight, the most common sight is a group of three or more editorial staff huddled in a hallway or over a partition, none-too-quietly discussing their suspicions, redundancy entitlements and fears, which is only to be expected.

But sadly regular and far less expected is the haranguing given to colleagues that don’t believe the sky is falling. One staff member lecturing another in how naive they are to accept anything management says, another mocked for believing they will have a job in a year’s time.

Those in online being sycophantically praised for foresight to their face, then vilified for representing the problem or not being “real” journalists once their back is turned.

At print desks the new “digital first” newsroom model – designed by colleagues not consultants – is disparaged as unworkable and inept before any plan is presented, then when it is, it is maligned for, essentially, not being the old model.

Based on the atmosphere in the office, Fairfax won’t struggle to fill its 150 editorial redundancy target, in fact you’d swear there will be a race for the exit. It is just to be hoped those 150 won’t infect those of us who want to stay before they go.

For sadly many have fallen out of love with the Fairfax idea or feel it has betrayed them – either way the relationship has become toxic. Those people should take this chance and go. As Jack Matthews is fond of saying, if you don’t like it here, leave. We spend far too much of our lives at work to hate our jobs.

The atmosphere in Fairfax right now is awful. Fear can be explained, resolved and dispelled. Anger and hatred to the organisation and towards your colleagues – those who want to try something new, who dare to contemplate producing a different paper to the one we put out ten, twenty or thirty years ago, those who still want to have pride in writing for The Age or The Herald whatever form it comes in – that anger is the sign that your time has come.

Comments


  1. Marc
    2 Jul 12
    9:31 am

  2. Wait, so let me get this straight: the media, your professional colleagues, the market AND your readers all think you’re doing a bad job.

    Had it occurred to you that maybe… just maybe… they’re right?

    Don’t get me wrong we do feel sorry for you. Its a pretty unpleasant thing these job losses but if EVERYONE is telling you that there is a problem with your work then perhaps you need to face the reality that they’re right.

  3. Simon
    2 Jul 12
    9:36 am

  4. Losing your job or being made redundant is never a nice experience for anyone, so sympathy goes out to all those affected. Whilst you do a good job of describing the atmosphere at Fairfax right now, I doubt this article can do it justice at all.

    But sympathy aside, its not like most of the developed media world didn’t see this coming. I remember a presentation back in 2006 (I think) from someone in Fairfax talking about the massive growth in the digital news medium. That’s six years ago. Whether you’re a board member, an editor, a journalist, a printer or you make the tea, you’ve had a fair amount of time to prepare.

    Most people faced with redundancy or sacking are lucky to get six days, let alone six years….

  5. Dev
    2 Jul 12
    9:46 am

  6. Ha! Simon just did exactly what the article described! Well played Simon.

  7. willemrt
    2 Jul 12
    10:00 am

  8. “At print desks the new “digital first” newsroom model – designed by colleagues not consultants – is disparaged as unworkable and inept before any plan is presented, then when it is, it is maligned for, essentially, not being the old model.”

    Pretty much says it all really. This is the biggest problem with large, legacy media companies. Changing to new models is tough, but its necessary.

  9. The Jackal
    2 Jul 12
    10:40 am

  10. Was that bludgeoning intentional Simon?

  11. Simon
    2 Jul 12
    10:42 am

  12. I did, didn’t I? Wow.

    Perhaps there’s something in this ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it’ theory then?

  13. Renee
    2 Jul 12
    10:46 am

  14. I hate the thought of fewer journos writing for the paper, it’s the variety of journos’ articles that make the paper interesting to read.

    Being made redundant sucks. I hope you guys can find support networks to get you through this, it must be a horrible time.

  15. Joan
    2 Jul 12
    10:56 am

  16. Being made redundant is awful, as many of us have experienced, but, it’s hard for me to understand how much harder it is when it’s all SO public, and everyone has a say as to why it’s happened and what the future holds. Commiserations Fairfax staff.

  17. Jonno
    2 Jul 12
    10:58 am

  18. Simon has hit the nail on the head however, the issue lies wholly and solely in the laps of management firstly for not pioneering the new era sooner and secondly in sales & marketing for thinking that market dominance alone will continue to reap revenue instead of being proactive about the way they reach their users.

    I have some sympathy of journalists but I blame managment and sales and marketing for putting the business to the sword. They moved slower than the titanic to the new ways of the world!

  19. Shayne Tilley
    2 Jul 12
    11:06 am

  20. Long live great journalism. Screw company politics and agenda’s, I just hope in the wash up in all of this is, quality, balanced, real-journalism remains rewarded.

    No matter what medium, device, company we buy it from we will always benefit from ethical, quality, and insightful content . Content that stands out in the noise that is our lives.

    I just hope the content wins.

    … and I’m a consumer not a journalist.

  21. chris
    2 Jul 12
    11:06 am

  22. Seeing the demise of Fairfax is very sad but it has been a very long time since journalism at Fairfax has been written for and represented the majority of the people that buy and read the main dailies paper. You are always as good as your audience and frankly the journalists have over indulged. To that extent Gina Rienhardt’s commernts are right on the money.

  23. Dennis Rutzou
    2 Jul 12
    11:08 am

  24. I was a cadet journalist working on the Melbourne Argus when it closed. The end came swiftly and permanently. I was working in sport and had a day off on the Thursday and the first thing I heard about the closure was when I was going up in the lift and received an invitation from a colleague to go across the road to the Duke of Kent. So after I dropped off my brief case, checked my messages and what stories I needed to write that day, I went to the Duke for the first of what would turn out to be many visits that day. The editor called a meeting in the newsroom at 3 o’clock and confirmed the story. We resolved to make that editor of The Argus, the best ever. We collected our severance pay at 4.30pm and after knock time at 11 pm in the newsroom we started one of the best parties I had ever been to. The Duke of Kent remained open all night, despite Victoria’s then 6pm closing time and there wasn’t a licensing police to be seen. Only Argus people still meet every year on the anniversdary of closing day, 19 January. Where else? The Duke of Kent in Latrobe Street, Melbourne.

  25. Dennis Rutzou
    2 Jul 12
    11:14 am

  26. There is a literal that crept into my comment. The word editor in line 11 should be edition. So you see, I still rely on good subs.

  27. Bruno Watt
    2 Jul 12
    11:15 am

  28. The new world of digital is having a huge impact on every industry on the planet (and its only really just starting). I work on the other side of it, deep within the once emerging e-commerce and security sector consulting with organisations that want to cross the divide and catch up with those who acted switftly.

    We see companies in virtually every different industry segment dying (including some former marque brands), but we also see others florishing, some of those are start ups and some of them are legacy organisations. Ultimately the buck stops with the board, if the board didn’t see this coming and didnt work to fix it then its on their heads. But we all have to change our ways, Retailers cannot continue to gouge us and papers cannot continue to rely on now impractical income models. It’s going to hurt but deal with it.

    This isn’t to say I don’t feel for this industry, it is important, just like many others who also are having the core of their business model shaken by, as Bill Gates coined it, Business at the Speed of Thought. A book everyone in every business should have read in 1999.

  29. crizza
    2 Jul 12
    11:21 am

  30. I gotta disagree Chris – Fairfax journalism has been a beacon of responsible reporting in a sea of screaming hysteria over the past few years. If the only way forward is for all papers to pander to conservative mantras and self interest a’la certain News vehicles, then it is a very distressing state indeed.

  31. rocco
    2 Jul 12
    11:41 am

  32. Having worked at an evening newspaper that closed in 1990 I have great sympathy for the author and can indentify with most of his comments. Blame the journalists? In my experience many journalists at metro daily newspapers are so far removed from the decsion making process to be almost anonymous. Sure there are the superstars whose bylines appear on the big stories but there are an awful lot of foot soldiers without whom there would be no newspaper at all. And they are the ones who may find it harder to get a new job. Been there, done that. Best of luck to all the Fairfax people

  33. Fairfax escapees unite!
    2 Jul 12
    11:48 am

  34. I loved working for Fairfax – contributing to the best paper on the city (if only in online video) was rewarding in the extreme. Bit this halcyon jounalistic nivarna that some make it out to be, it ain’t.

    Level 4 could be just as ego-ridden, shambolic and plain weird as any two-bit tv newsroom. The place is no more perfect or worthy than any other media organisation.

    If you leave fairfax, willingly or otherwise, you might just discover this yourself – and grow professionally and personally for the experience.

    It is far from the only game in town for both readers and journos.

  35. Simon
    2 Jul 12
    11:52 am

  36. Digital music was going to kill music.
    Digital downloads were going to kill film and TV.
    Digital cameras were going to kill photography.

    When I last looked, music, film, TV and photography were still thriving, better than ever.

    The digital age won’t kill journalism, but like everything above, it needs to evolve. And fast.

  37. banditboy
    2 Jul 12
    12:56 pm

  38. In client service land we call it a ‘shit sandwich’.. something nice up front, not so nice in the middle, and then a better ending..

  39. Lynsey
    2 Jul 12
    1:01 pm

  40. Well said Simon

  41. Pete
    2 Jul 12
    1:13 pm

  42. It is precisely the anonimity that is killing the company. There was a time that reporters made news and sub-editors made newspapers. That time is not now. Management by stealth has removed journalists from decisionmaking and peoples’ passion from the equation. Managers fly around the country and world when an email or a phone call would do the job. Not so for those who produce the work. The Rural Press ethos is still alive and well. Run it on a shoestring, fire the experienced, hire the young and hungry. Make one do the work of three or four. If only the lip service to quality or digital could be believed. Unfortunately it cannot. Ever since the mention of quality journalism quality levels have dropped out. And, you would expect more resources and innovation thrown at digital. Where is that?

  43. AdGrunt
    2 Jul 12
    1:23 pm

  44. GET A GRIP!

    Isn’t it terrible being on the receiving end of adverse perception caused by media.

    Sure, the journalists aren’t the inherent problem – they were the woefully undervalued asset. However if they aren’t now making themself the value part of the solution, then they are by default, part of the problem.

    Controlled change can only come from the inside. You’re on the inside, so they presume you use your insightful, thought-changing journalistic skills within the organisation too, rather than simply outside it. The fish may rot from the head, but it swims from the tail.

    “Physician, heal thyself.” is what they’re saying, even if it comes across as “So sorry you brought down Fairfax by yourself”

    So dry your eyes and take a teaspoon of cement. Organisational change can be horrific, but until you regain control of the situation as an individual and member of the Fairfax organisation, then this will only get worse.

    What would you, yes YOU, do if you were in Management?

    Why not tell them? Use your networking, investigative, intellectual and thought-leading skills to drive the change you seem to hope someone else will do for you.

    Channel that raw anger and fear to your advantage. Make some plans, work them through, garner opinion, draw a picture of success and sell it. Sell it like you’ve never sold before. You work in media, right?

    Because if you, yes YOU, on the inside, with all the knowledge, skill and passion can’t, then you’re absolutely rooted. And yes, in a small part, it will be your fault.

  45. Joel Connolly
    2 Jul 12
    1:26 pm

  46. It’s frustrating to read such disparaging comments, especially when they’re written anonymously. The internet is full of would be media commentators. It seems anyone who reads the paper is qualified. In my experience most don’t know what they’re talking about. I drink coffee but that doesn’t make me a barista, know what I mean?

    Enough has been said about Fairfax and everything that’s going on, so I don’t feel I need to add my two cents. I will say this though – if you read mUmbrella, chance are you’re either in the media or rely heavily on it to do your job. I think it would maybe be a good idea if we all showed a bit more support for Fairfax and the people it employees. None of us would underestimate the value of the content it produces and the broader role the mastheads play in our country.

    Joel

  47. Me
    2 Jul 12
    2:06 pm

  48. “When I last looked, music, film, TV and photography were still thriving, better than ever.”

    True, but look at the state of Sony, MGM, Network Seven and Kodak.

    Technologies may change and thrive – more often than not the brands delivering them fail during revolutions.

  49. Anonymous
    2 Jul 12
    2:45 pm

  50. Can I just say that Marc has proved your point. Troll commentary like his makes a difficult and unsettling time all the more depressing. There are readers, and shareholders, who do support your work and what you stand for. Marc has the Daily Telegraph, he should be content with that, rather than rubbishing those who seek a different kind of journalism.

    What is sad about all this, is that quality journalism, particularly the investigative kind will become a thing of the past. What we’ll see is news delivered via regurgitated PR release.

  51. Planet Earth
    2 Jul 12
    2:59 pm

  52. Adgrunt – wish you we here.

  53. Ancient Subeditorial Presence
    2 Jul 12
    3:37 pm

  54. You know what’s funny? All the commenters on this thread who are decrying anonymous comments beneath a story written by an anonymous contributor.

  55. John Sharples
    2 Jul 12
    4:06 pm

  56. errrr…. Simon @ 18 ….. Kodak – that bastion of photography (and I’ll bet probably your first ever camera, an Instamatic) is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will “cease making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames”. So, that comment you made: “When I last looked, music, film, TV and photography were still thriving, better than ever.” I, and I believe Kodak, beg to differ.

  57. Gigi
    2 Jul 12
    4:44 pm

  58. As far as I’m concerned Fairfax has only ever been its journalists. Wouldn’t have known or cared who was the CEO, the members of the board or even the editor-in-chief. I look for the by line and follow certain journalists in print and online. Irritated when sub-editing was more or less given the flick but not enough to consider not reading the SMH.
    I’m so sorry your organization is letting you all swing in the breeze (doesn’t Fairfax have an HR department specialising in the welfare of the people who do the work?) and I really hope that it’s all sorted out very soon.

  59. Audubon Ballroom
    2 Jul 12
    5:30 pm

  60. No sympathy at all.

    The customer has been saying for years that the product is not worth buying.
    The stock price has collapsed.
    Sales have collapsed.

    At what point does a patently incompetent board and an out-of-control newsroom actually address the core issue?

    That being that the product is so inferior that no-one wants to buy it.

    Instead, the incompetent board and an out-of-control newsroom blames everyone else but those truly responsible – themselves.

    The options now are:

    1. Fundamental reform of the product (probably not possible, the brand is too trashed)

    2. Find a rich saviour who thinks they can salvage something from the shipwreck (Rinehart is the only one on the horizon).

    3. Commercial extinction.

    Choose one.

  61. No John
    2 Jul 12
    5:35 pm

  62. @John Sharples

    Simon is referring to the old business model and minds at Kodak who allowed the company to die (once the bastion of the photo world.) If Kodak had adjusted early to the new digital photography trends, harnessed anything new, blimey they might have even bought or invented the Instagram app…

    Do you get Simon’s drift..? Re Fairfax have been sitting on their hands, watching online players nick their classifieds and further plays steel their users eyeball online, whilst trying to prop up a print business with overwhelming costs…

    People want to consume opinion and coverage of current affairs. Going about it the old way will see the old firms die off and new firms arrive.

    (I think that is what Simon meant…)

    :)

  63. Rene Kink
    2 Jul 12
    5:37 pm

  64. “Those conversations always seem to begin with the seemingly loaded “how are you?” – a question I now dread – then swiftly morph into a conversation in which they sympathise with the situation by explaining what is wrong with Fairfax and then bludgeoning you with it.”

    As someone pretty close to this sad situation, that was the best, most accurate para I’ve read about all this in weeks.

  65. John
    2 Jul 12
    6:08 pm

  66. Same old story, good people badly led.

  67. AdGrunt
    2 Jul 12
    6:37 pm

  68. @John Sharples
    You and Kodak may beg to differ, but FujiFilm wouldn’t.
    The difference? Complacency.

    Interesting article and salutary tale about the failure to change. http://www.economist.com/node/21542796

    Worth noting, amongst many others, 3M started as the Minnesota Mining Company and Nokia started as a wood milling company. Adapt or die.

  69. Matt
    2 Jul 12
    7:44 pm

  70. More people than ever are reading Fairfax content.

    The problem isn’t with the content, but the manner in which it is marketed and monetized.

    Editorial departments in newsrooms around the world, Fairfax or otherwise, are constantly doing their best to keep up with change.

    Marketing and advertising departments have not kept up.

  71. AC
    2 Jul 12
    7:46 pm

  72. Expecting help from HR at a time like this is like expecting a vulture to lift you to safety from the jaws of a lion. During my two previous redundancies the HR manager simply dressed in suitably sombre clothing, made sympathetic noises, then almost certainly privately rejoiced that they were pretty much assured a job for life in media, continuing to deliver heartbreaking news to heartbroken newsmen and women.

  73. Jacob
    2 Jul 12
    8:32 pm

  74. Music is “thriving” and “better than ever”?
    There has never been a WORSE time to work in the music industry, nor, arguably, to be a music fan.

  75. jane
    2 Jul 12
    9:47 pm

  76. on a positive front, I’ve just returned from the UK where the Times still holds its position within the British newspaper industry, despite going tabloid – although the once-proud Independent looked like a trashy version of its former self.
    FFX employs some brilliant journos – the challenge is to let them continue to write unbiased, well-researched pieces without being cramped by a Hun-like 300-word limit or instructed to write from Gina Rinehart’s more right-wing perspective under the guise of ‘meeting public demand’.

  77. Richard S. Kazimer
    2 Jul 12
    10:16 pm

  78. “Anonymous for obvious reasons.” Just what part of ‘fait accompli’ doesn’t the “journalist” understand?

  79. Ern Malley
    2 Jul 12
    11:51 pm

  80. I can’t believe the ad and marketing industry people who get on this website ands start hanging it on people who work in the newspapers. Especially in this guy’s case. He’s doing his best to tell you how it is in those sad old newsrooms. I work in advertising and I reckon it’s my peers’ complacency also to blame for not making compelling web advertising that works. When was the last time you saw an amazing ad on the age, smh or herald sun websites? I can’t remember one. It’s up to us to open our clients’ wallets. But we can’t and we don’t. We’ve got a lot to answer for when reporters start losing jobs. Our industry that can save news reporting. If we have any community responsibility, it’s that. Because when reporters stop reporting we’re all stuffed.

  81. anne lucas
    3 Jul 12
    8:16 am

  82. I have just found this site – wow – intelligent and generally well reasoned comment and not one of you blames Julia Gillard. Unique.

  83. John Sharples
    3 Jul 12
    8:43 am

  84. AdGrunt – thanks for the link. A very interesting article. Yes, I know the Nokia story (though not about 3M – thanks for the education). I think it’ll be interesting to see how Nokia moves forward now having once dominated mobile phones, it’s struggling in this iPhone domination. And, RIM – that’ll be an interesting case study – from “killer app” to …. well where??? And the boards here regarding their recent new ad campaign were rife with denigration.
    No John – I still dispute his comment “When I last looked, music, film, TV and photography were still thriving, better than ever.” Yes, I understand that one must adapt or die, and while AdGrunt’s shown us how Fuji Film adapted, there are myriad other players in the “Entertainment” sector who are suffering. As someone who works in Entertainment, I see daily how change is affecting how we consume these media.
    Music – we’ve seen major companies struggle with the cheap downloads and aren’t booking the numbers they did.
    Film – probably yes it’s doing “OK”, but DVD???? Seriously??? “Better than ever”
    TV – again viewing figures are down from halcyon days as more media channels open and people consume via this interweb tingum.
    I think the new players in the market are internet based media channels who are adapting quickly to a fast changing market and offering their consumers what they want, when they want it.
    And, even the interweb players have change markedly in a short period. Who used to use Alta Vista as their search engine of choice? 20 years ago we didn’t have google. 10 years ago we didn’t have Facebook….. where next???

  85. Evil Pundit
    3 Jul 12
    10:10 am

  86. As a reader of newspapers since the early eighties, I used to have great fondness for Fairfax. But that was before I had any personal experience of the events that were “reported on” in the SMH. Then I realised just how biased and misleading the “news” was.

    I couldn’t do anything about it during the eighties, but late in 88 I discovered this thing called the Internet. Three years later I cancelled my subscription to the SMH, and I haven’t looked back since.

    The product was never all that good to start with, and it’s been getting worse. Now that I have a better alternative, I no longer have to put up with the arrogance of opinionated journalists using their stranglehold on mass media to put forth their views.

    Good riddance at last!

  87. Hugo
    3 Jul 12
    10:31 am

  88. Restructure sucks. Public restructure must be worse.

    The only advice I’ve found consistently helpful about crappy work places is this. If you can’t change it, there are plenty of better jobs out there.

  89. Doug
    3 Jul 12
    11:22 am

  90. It’s interesting to see how journalists react when they’re the focus of negative attention, rather than creating the commentary themselves.

    If we look at politics and business, for instance, there are many journalists who tell politicians and company directors how to do their jobs better, how their policies should be implemented, etc. Very few of these journalists have any practical experience in any field other than journalism, but they’re anxious to tell the politicians and company directors what their problems are, how they should be fixed, etc.

    In this instance, the Fairfax newspapers have been degrading for years. The share price and circulation figures reflect that. If journalists are happy to provide their unsolicited public feedback on politicians and business people, why should they be unhappy when people provide the same service to them?

    The anonymous writer complains that the commentators don’t have the inside story of what’s really happening. How does he or she think that the subject of the newspaper articles feel? It’s the same. The only difference is that the journalist is on the receiving end of uninformed comment, not providing it.

  91. anon1
    3 Jul 12
    12:29 pm

  92. This is not about Fairfax or the product “not being worth buying”.

    This is a simply inevitable shift and shut-down in the media industry. Nor will Fairfax be the last casualty.

    Sure – there are some obvious areas where Fairfax failed to innovate or streamline, and also failed to capitalise on public good will towards it as a non-Murdoch organisation, but this contraction was still inevitable. Better strategy would have best been an 18-24 month stay of execution.

    The real question is how any mainstream commercial news media organisation can survive, or be relevant, in nations with reasonably competent, reliable, trusted and comprehensive *free* national media organisations (ie BBC, Aus ABC) backed up by social media doing all the republication/rebroadcasting, discussion and comment. I have no interest in using Fairfax’s commenting system, when I can discuss things more easily, freely and widely on a site such as Reddit.

    So I would argue that there is no longer a place for mainstream commercial news organisations. There’s a place for niche: such as the Economist, and possibly a highly scaled-down version of the AFR, but beyond that, I am afraid that I just don’t see any viability for mainstream commercial news any more.

  93. Coal Miner
    3 Jul 12
    1:03 pm

  94. Welcome to the world, journalist. You lot at Fairfax have been undermining my industry for years with your ideological claptrap. So again, welcome to the world you have helped to create, and enjoy a taste of what you’ve been wishing on the rest of us all these years – the end of our livelihoods.

  95. Coal Miner
    3 Jul 12
    1:05 pm

  96. Oh, and did I mention widespread public vilification for just trying to be productive? Welcome to that too.

  97. Coal Miner
    3 Jul 12
    1:07 pm

  98. Oh, and thanks for feeding all that misplaced, ignorant vilification. Again, welcome – this place is called the ‘world’. Better start getting used to it. Bloody sook.

  99. crizza
    3 Jul 12
    2:25 pm

  100. don’t want to sound like I’m stereotyping people, but why is a coal miner subscribing to mumbrella? (BTW, I have some friends who are miners, and a fine bunch they are too).

  101. Coal Miner
    3 Jul 12
    3:06 pm

  102. crizza if you don’t want to sound like you’re stereotyping people, then don’t stereotype people. If you think coal miners shouldn’t participate in public discussions regarding Australian society, current affairs or even journalistic matters, just say it openly. Note: public discussions. Last time I looked this wasn’t a private blog for the likes of whoever you are, or any of the other thought police out there for that matter.

    And just for the record, a lot of the miners I know are wankers. And the journalist above is still a bloody sook.

  103. crizza
    3 Jul 12
    3:54 pm

  104. Sorry Coal Miner. I’ve got nothing against miners participating, just public relations consultants disguised as miners. If I got it wrong, I apologise
    .

  105. Planet Earth
    3 Jul 12
    4:12 pm

  106. Coal Miner – take a valium mate.

    In all the years I worked for SMH I never saw anything that ‘undermined your industry for years with ideological claptrap’ or any ‘widespread public vilification for just trying to be productive’ or anything that ‘feed all that misplaced, ignorant vilification.’ You should try reading a publication before critiquing it.

    BTW – listening to Ray hadley or Alan Jones talking about SMH does not pass for reading SMH.

  107. Craig
    3 Jul 12
    9:06 pm

  108. Good journalism has an ongoing role to play. Whether newspapers do is debatable.

    If you’re a Fairfax journalist looking for sympathy, I suggest you reflect on all the other people losing their jobs due to industry restructures. You are not special or unique in this respect.

    However where you are unique is that your skills remain relevant, while your organisation does not.

    Unlike someone whose job is replaced by cheaper overseas labour or machines, nothing has replaced investigative journalism.

    In fact your job has become more important and better facilitated by new tools for gathering, analyzing and publishing information.

    This is a golden age for journalism, and should be a fantastic opportunity for good journalists. True you cannot count on the same regular paycheck for a given level of work – you need to be hungrier, smarter and more ambitious.

    Forget the mastheads, become your own masthead. Create your own name, build your own brand. Do it through providing quality analysis that is impossible to get elsewhere, using your competitive advantages of writing skills, contacts and experience.

    However if you are the type of journalist that only thrives as an employee, who needs to be told which stories to cover and have an administrative monolith behind you to manage your workplace affairs, you are increasingly out of luck.

    Entrenepeurial and good journalists will thrive, wage slaves will need to find another j-o-b working for another industry.

  109. Logic
    3 Jul 12
    11:25 pm

  110. Great comments Craig.

    “Forget the mastheads, become your own masthead. Create your own name, build your own brand. Do it through providing quality analysis that is impossible to get elsewhere, using your competitive advantages of writing skills, contacts and experience.”

    So true. The need for great analysis shouldn’t dissolve … but the ways which it is accessed may alter.

  111. bob is a rabbit
    4 Jul 12
    10:09 am

  112. @ Ern Malley – great comment. I couldn’t agree more.

  113. Sean Davey
    4 Jul 12
    11:07 am

  114. @ Ern Malley – I agree with the rabbit. Advertising is the industry that can save journalism. They need each other. People who recognise this – and respect a fair and unbiased press – will prosper, and so too will our community, culture and economy.

  115. Anthea Fleming
    6 Jul 12
    9:17 pm

  116. I am a lifelong AGE reader. I have known many stories where the details were not as accurate as they might have been, but in general I have found it trust-worthy and respectable and stimulating (even if much of its reflective material is British ‘Guardian” reprints). I have tried without success to read its Murdoch competitor. If the Age as I know it disappears I shall have to give up newspapers.

    I hope Fairfax can avoid being swallowed up by someone who not only looks like Tiddalick the Frog, but behaves like him.

  117. fredn
    8 Jul 12
    7:15 am

  118. I have picked up a few copies of the age over the last few days and put in the time to form a view. It’s still a pretty good paper. So for me life moves on, the age is a pretty good paper but I don’t get time to read it. To get my digital subscription they have to do better than crikey, which is a pretty good paper that is easy to access.

  119. MT
    10 Jul 12
    2:50 pm

  120. I do have to say though, if you look at Fairfax vs. News, most of the ‘real’ innovation does seem to be coming from Fairfax. Whether its being more involved with social issues and festivals/dialogue, to technology innovation both internal/external and the adoption of a more platform neutral approach, to me they seem the winner. Half the trick is to do all these things faster – productivity is always going to be the argument.

  121. Offal Spokesperson
    13 Jul 12
    1:03 pm

  122. Just been looking over Perthnow and there appears to be no comments anywhere?

    A friend of a friend of a friend suggests that there is no-one moderating, so they are simply not publishing comment?

    If this is the case… They’ve certainly got this digital integration business down pat

  123. Offal Spokesperson
    13 Jul 12
    1:04 pm

  124. oops of course that previous comment should be aimed at News – not Fairfax.

  125. Bazza
    13 Jul 12
    4:49 pm

  126. “How are you?” sounds very similar to the inane “How do you feel?” which is inevitably asked when ever a microphone or mini recorder is pushed in the face of a news interviewee.
    I guess the writer now knows how it feels and what it looks like.
    As one who has trodden this road before I can assure you there is life after Fairfax and also life after journalism as you know it.
    The remaining folks at Fairfax may feel duty bound. While loyalty is commendable, they need to ask themselves if they really want to link their futures to a company which didn’t try to adapt until it was too late and even then stuffed up that process.
    Ironic that Fairfax paid $750 million for TradeMe in NZ – after it had ruined their classified revenue stream. Doubly ironic that it has now been forced to sell out half of that investment (one of the few it has made that are profitable) in order to pay for the transition it is going through.
    My advice to Fairfax journalists: You don’t owe the company any loyalty. A myopic board and senior management is dragging you down with the sinking ship.
    Get out now and innovate, or go work in an industry that is.
    You at least have skills that are in demand – making the complex understandable, cutting through the crap, and writing quickly – no, not in demand in the media, further afield.

  127. Cheer Up
    23 Jul 12
    10:35 am

  128. Spot on Bazza. I managed to escape 13 years ago and my editing skills helped me succeed in new endeavours – and better paying ones. Fairfax journos facing the axe might cheer up knowing this.