Fairfax confirms 25 jobs to go from community papers while The Land loses 16 positions

FairfaxFairfax Media has confirmed about 25 full-time equivalent positions across its suburban papers in Sydney and 16 positions at The Land will be made redundant as the publishing company moves ahead with a proposed restructure.

Employees of Fairfax’s Australian Community Media (ACM) titles were briefed yesterday on the final shape of the operating structure after a period of consultation with staff and community members.

Across the suburban papers 25-full time jobs will go, with the publisher reinstating journalist and photographer positions to the proposed structure following community feedback. Provision for senior journalist positions in editorial teams has also been made in an effort to provide local newsroom leadership.

The company says the 25 voluntary redundancies are two less than originally proposed.

“Fairfax management can try to spin this as a positive, but the short-term cost savings from these cuts to editorial resources around Australia will have a lasting impact on the ability of these mastheads to effectively serve their communities,” Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) director Katelin McInerney told Mumbrella.

“Since the restructure was first flagged, communities have spoken loud and clear to express their anger and disappointment at Fairfax’s drastic cuts to their local newspaper staff.

“Readers and communities look to their local mastheads to tell the stories of their region and the concern from these audiences is that without an adequate number of staff in our local newsrooms, the capacity to cover the events – big and small – is going to be compromised.”

Publications impacted include the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser, Blue Mountains Gazette, Penrith City Gazette, Hawkesbury Gazette, Hawkesbury Courier, Hills News, Rouse Hill Courier, Liverpool City Champion, Fairfield City Champion, Parramatta-Holroyd Sun, Blacktown Sun, St Marys-Mt Druitt Star, Camden-Narellan Advertiser, Wollondilly Advertiser and South West Advertiser.

St George and Sutherland Shire LeaderThe changes will see the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader go from publishing twice a week to once a week while the free weekly South West Advertiser will be discontinued.

As a result of the restructure some existing office premises will be vacated or sold and staff relocated to new premises in their local areas.

The LandMeanwhile at Fairfax Media’s agricultural masthead The Land, plans to base more of its journalists in regional NSW are moving ahead, with the paper’s senior editorial team to be relocated from North Richmond in north-west Sydney to Orange in central-western NSW.

The Land will retain senior reporters in Sydney, with a journalist also moving to Moree to complement existing reporters based in Dubbo, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and the North Coast.

The changes will see voluntary redundancies of about 16 full-time equivalent positions, with editorial staff numbers to be reduced by around eight.

The ranks of ACM’s specialist national agricultural writers, who cover key industry sectors for The Land and its sister publications in other states, will be increased.

The restructure follows on from 47 full-time jobs being cut from Fairfax’s Illawarra and South Coast newspapers at the end of last month and a restructure for the company’s regional titles in Victoria in March.

Miranda Ward


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