Fairfax Media to slash jobs as it restructures editorial across metro division

Fairfax Media is set to slash more journalist jobs across its Australian Metro Publishing newsrooms with the publisher proposing major structural editorial changes which will help it achieve $30m in annual savings.

Announced to the ASX this morning, Fairfax Media is asserting the major structural editorial changes are required to secure the futures of its metropolitan mastheads which include The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Chris Janz, Fairfax Media managing director of Australian Metro Publishing, said in a statement: “With the proposed changes to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today newsrooms announced today, we will have completed the major structural editorial changes required to secure our metropolitan mastheads.

Chris Janz: Changes ‘will prepare us for a stronger future’

“The primary focus of Fairfax Media over recent years has been to lay the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable publishing model. We are now within reach of that goal.

“Including non-staff costs the proposal is expected to deliver approximately $30m in annualised savings with the majority of these savings expected in the 2018 financial year.

“The changes announced today will prepare us for a stronger future, with a business focused on growth and innovation, and an unwavering commitment to quality, independent journalism.

“Our publications will be genuine digital businesses with the capabilities and cost base to best operate in the current media environment. We will be introducing an innovative mix of new products to deliver our audience focused, quality journalism and maximise our revenue opportunities. We will continue to print for many years, so long as our newspapers have an audience and advertisers.”

Mumbrella understands the staff consultation process will be concluded by the end of the month.

MEAA’s director of its Media section (representing journalists) Katelin McInerney said: “Fairfax journalists have delivered in spades for the company: more readers than ever and record digital subscription numbers. The announcement from the company today leaves more questions than answers. We are looking for a genuine consultation that draws on the expertise of the editorial floor and ensures any restructure enhances Fairfax core strength – its journalism.”

The restructure is the first move by Janz since he was appointed MD of the metro publishing division in February.

It follows on from 100 job cuts a year ago.

In February the publishing company re-committed to the future of the Monday to Friday print editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age with CEO Greg Hywood stating its the “best commercial outcome for shareholders”.

Speculation over the past week has suggest Fairfax Media has been readying for a private equity bid.


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