Fairfax Media is set to cut the “equivalent of 120 full-time jobs” from news and business across newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
The cuts will be made through redundancies and cost-cutting measures.
Staff were informed of the cuts this morning with an email from Sean Aylmer, Fairfax Media editorial director.
The email read: “We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees.
“We believe that we can do this through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.”
Paul Murphy, CEO of the journalists union Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), has described the cuts as a “body blow”.
MEAA CEO Paul Murphy: cuts are a “body blow”
“It’s the staff on the newsroom floor who have driven the transition to digital and through all the challenges continued to produce high quality independent journalism,” said.
“And this is the reward. Yet another savage cut to editorial. We will be fighting for every job.”
The news of the job cuts follows on from the company’s restructure of its editorial team which saw editor-in-chief of The Age Andrew Holden depart and a shift in power towards digital roles over print roles.
Last week Fairfax Media named Judith Whelan as editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.
Last month, a Fairfax Media announced plans to move production of its metro newspapers back to Pagemasters, a decision that could see 70 jobs axed.
Fairfax Media declined to comment.
The full email to staff from Sean Alymer editorial director of Fairfax:
We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees.
We believe that we can do this through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.
Our decisions will be based on our understanding of our audience and the importance of our brands. Our reporting will continue to focus on investigations, state and federal politics, justice and breaking news, sport, entertainment and business.
While we are much more efficient in producing quality journalism, we still have a way to go.
Change is a permanent part of our industry. It is a reflection of what we know about the ways our readers are consuming our stories. We must continue to evolve with them.
I will be holding staff meetings in Sydney today and in Melbourne tomorrow to discuss the proposal.