Fairfax ‘disestablishes’ 160 jobs in NZ claiming it is creating more ‘digitally focused’ roles

Fairfax_Media_logoFairfax Media has downplayed reports from New Zealand claiming the publisher is poised to axe a large number of jobs, saying it is in the process of a restructure “to boost the number of reporters across the country”.

It is understood under New Zealand law employers are required to “disestablish” positions before offering employees new a one. Whilst the company would not comment on numbers the restructure will see 166 positions disestablished with 180 positions created, with many of the new positions digitally focused.

“The proposal announced today by Fairfax Media NZ is a restructure – it’s not about reducing headcount,” said a Fairfax spokesman.

“We are not proposing to cut jobs: we’re actually proposing to boost the number of reporters across the country through the new structure, and there is no headcount reduction overall.”

In a statement, Fairfax Media New Zealand described the restructure as a “newsroom transformation” aimed at shifting the way its newsrooms are geared to serve its audience.

Fairfax’s newspapers in the country include the Sunday News, Sunday Star Times, The Waikato Times, The Press and The Dominion Post, as well as a stable of magazines along with news website

Sinead Boucher, executive editor at Fairfax Media, the shift would make the publisher more  “digital-centric”.

“The proposal is not about reducing headcount,” said Boucher. We are boosting our reporting capability in small and large communities, and by streamlining our print-focused production processes, increasing the ratio of content creators from just over half to almost two thirds.”

Sinead added: “We need digital-first, socially driven newsrooms that are structured to produce quality journalism for different audiences and across platforms – and this is an exciting structure geared towards building a dynamic, responsive newsroom.

“It’s an entirely different way of operating that puts our journalists even closer to the communities they cover.”

Whilst the company says it will create more reporting roles it is unclear if these will be at the expense of sub-editors roles.

The restructure comes amid ongoing speculation in Australia that Fairfax is preparing for another major round of job cuts across The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, whilst the company is also axing dozens of roles from local newsrooms.

Nic Christensen


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