Fairfax to close Sydney and Melbourne magazine inserts with another 45 journalist redundancies

sydney magazine melbourne magazine Fairfax Media is to close its monthly  glossy newspaper-inserted titles the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine and its quarterly title Financial Review Capital as part of further cuts which will see another 25 editorial staff let go from the business unit and 20 from the News and Life Media unit.

The news was broken to staff in an email from Fairfax Media’s MD of Australian publishing media Allen Williams this morning.

The company is aiming for all of the redundancies to be voluntary. It is consulting with journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

In the note, Williams said: “It’s no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform. The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.”

The November editions of the Sydney and Melbourne titles will be the last. While Financial Review capital will be retained as a brand once a quarter within the newspaper.

The closures and redundancies come just over a year after the publisher revealed the Fairfax of the Future plan which saw hundreds of staff laid off and the closure of printing presses.

The Sydney and Melbourne magazines were originally launched as a means of attracting luxury brands into the portfolio that were otherwise sceptical about newspaper advertising.

While the closure of the titles sees Fairfax pull back from the newspaper-inserted magazine sector, it will continue with major titles such as Saturday’s Good Weekend magazine and Financial Review Magazine. The memo from Williams said that Fairfax “remain committed” to inserted magazines. He also signalled a digital launch in the luxury sector.

The redundancies in the Business Media unit comes after the decision to share more business content across the Australian Financial Review, and the business desks of The Age and the SMH. Yesterday a story by AFR columnist Joe Aston made the front page of both The Fin and the SMH.

The memo:

To all News, Life and Business staff:

As you know, there is a lot of work being done to transform the Australian Publishing Media (APM) division. I want to thank you all for your exceptional work and commitment over recent months. Your professionalism and dedication is greatly appreciated.

The current revenue environment remains challenging. While we are satisfied with the actions we are taking to address these challenges, we must also find cost reductions across our business. And amongst other things, this will involve more changes in staffing levels in the News, Life and Business publishing units.

Business Media

Over the past couple of months, we have consulted extensively with Business Media staff about the integration of Business Day. The new structure will produce new efficiencies and remove duplication. We also plan to change Financial Review Capital from a quarterly magazine to a run-of-book quarterly newspaper section. As a result, we are proposing a reduction in Business Media staff of approximately 25 employees through a redundancy program.

News and Life Media

As you know, we have been reviewing our product mix in APM over the past four months. The results of the initial phase of the review have led to the clear decision to close two monthly insert magazines, the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine, finishing with the November 2013 issues.

It’s no secret to anyone in the media business that magazines have been an increasingly challenged platform. The sydney/melbourne titles have been great magazines, but it makes commercial sense to make these changes.

Closing the(sydney)magazine and the(melbourne)magazine will impact approximately 10 employees in the News publishing unit. We will explore redeployment opportunities for affected individuals. But the current revenue challenges we face requires us to pursue further cost reduction. As a result, we propose redundancies of approximately 20 employees across News Media and Life Media.

We remain committed to our other newspaper-inserted magazines and have already begun exploring new digital opportunities in the luxury category.


Garry Linnell, Sean Aylmer, Melina Cruickshank and myself will be consulting with you, including holding staff Question and Answer sessions today.

We have already been in contact with the MEAA about today’s announcement and will continue to consult with them.

There will be further information sessions and discussions ahead of making any final decisions. We will take your feedback into account.

We anticipate being in a position to communicate our decision about next steps by 14 October 2013.

We understand that this time may be unsettling. I would like to remind everyone that Fairfax staff and their immediate family can access an Employee Assistance Program for confidential support and advice at no cost to them.


Allen Williams

Managing Director – Australian Publishing Media

Fairfax Media


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