Fairfax to outsource regional newspaper production to NZ

In what is shaping up to be one of the worst weeks on record for journalism job losses in Australia, Fairfax Media has moved to offshore production of several of its regional titles from Australia to New Zealand.

The move – labelled “unprecedented” by journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance – sees Fairfax Regional Media shifting around 60 jobs across the Tasman.

The announcement comes days before an expected shakeup at News Limited which could see hundreds of jobs lost.

Fairfax titles targeted for the change are the Illawarra Mercury, the Newcastle Herald, the Lake Times, Kiama Independent, Newcastle Star, Myall Coast Nota, Port Stephens Examiner and Lakes Mail.

The production roles will instead be carried out by Fairfax Editorial Services. The move comes a year after Fairfax outsourced production jobs on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to AAP’s Pagemasters.

According to the union, there will be enforced redundancies if they cannot be found through staff redeployment and voluntary departures. There will now be a week of consultation. Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren said:

“This is a very dangerous step for Fairfax to be taking.

“There has been no experience in Australia of companies making the decision to offshore such a central part of the newspaper and this can only destroy the vital nexus between the newsroom and the community.”

“Newspapers are not just the product of photographers’ or journalists – sub-editors are the heart of the newsroom, with vast institutional and organisational memories, and an intimate knowledge of their community.”

A statement from Fairfax Regional Media boss Allan Browne posted on the Illawara Mercury, said the move was “part of a wider company strategy to pursue operational efficiencies while strengthening the focus on audience growth and producing quality content”.

Browne said: “To do that, we have to optimise our operations. We believe that will ensure our publishing and media businesses remain the news sources of choice in the communities they serve.”


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