News Corp to cut 50 jobs from across the business

News Corp will be cutting over 50 jobs from across its business, reportedly with a focus on the Herald Sun and Victoria.

The report comes as executive chairman Michael Miller told The Australian staff would need to ‘prepare’ for further cuts, – particularly those who had been with the business a long time – as ‘new skills’ would be needed as the publisher focuses on digital.

A News Corp spokesperson said the business was ‘reshaping’.

“We are reshaping our business across all areas to improve and strengthen how we operate to meet the changing demands of our consumers and customers,” said the spokesperson.

“Like any company, we need to evolve our business to be the best we can be, to ensure we have the right skills, the right practices and the right model for the future. Some roles across the company and in our newsrooms will be impacted by these changes and unfortunately, there will be a number of redundancies.”

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has claimed the total job cuts may reach 55, with a focus on Victorian newsrooms.

MEAA Media director Katelin McInerney says: “MEAA members in these newsrooms are angry News Corp is making further cuts when the company is also saying subscriptions are up, readership is up and online growth is outpacing their rivals.

“The subscription and readership growth has come about because skilled and experienced journalists have been delivering the kind of content News Corp readers want, despite its editorial staff already working in understaffed and under-resourced newsrooms.

“We believe this short-term cost-cutting strategy ignores the need to invest in journalism so that experienced editorial staff can pivot to digital platforms and produce quality editorial content such as the Walkley Award-winning Teacher’s Pet podcast series. This is what audiences want – investment in quality journalism not cost-cutting,” said McInerney.

This is in line with the way the business has been positioning itself over the past few months. In May, News Corp reported hitting 500,000 paid subscribers, with The Australian and The Wall Street Journal thought to be two of the key titles for subscriptions.

News Corp turned the paywall on for The Australian eight years ago.

The business’ quarterly results showed the News and Information arm grew circulation and subscription revenue 1% over the previous year, putting it at US$538m.

“It is counter intuitive to keep relying on short term cuts and short term thinking at a time when News Corp audiences are demanding more of their journalism.

“These cuts simply cannot be ‘absorbed’: fewer journalists can only mean fewer stories from and for the communities they serve,” McInerney said.

2019 has seen the business close, expand and open new titles, and struggle in some other areas of the business. After the launch of sports streaming platform Kayo in 2018, the initial subscriber figures were promising, but Foxtel has seen its numbers decrease and its costs increase thanks in part to the additional money it was spending on sport.

News Corp-owned Storyful shuttered its Hong Kong-based office in January 2019, moving its Asia Pacific operations to the Sydney office. The entire Storyful Asia editorial team was let go.

Earlier this year, the publisher also partnered with Nova Entertainment on Police Tape, a true crime podcast with a secondary purpose of driving traffic to News Corp subscriptions. It also refreshed The Australian website based on the feedback of subscribers.

The next month saw Your Money, the Nine/News Corp joint venture, close its digital presence with all traffic redirected to News Corp. At the time a spokesperson said staff with roles specifically related to the Your Money digital platform would leave the business.

Just four weeks later, the entire JV came crashing down and it was announced the Your Money programming would cease to air. A Sky News spokesperson said the cancellation would come with 30 job losses, although some team members have been moved to other roles, including business reporter Leo Shanahan who picked up the media editor role at The Australian.

While the company reported global revenues increasing in the last quarterly results, it also flagged possible job cuts associated with profits dropping at Foxtel. News Corp then announced the launch of glossy print title AgJournal.

Next was the selling of Community News titles to Seven West Media, signifying the end of that JV, the closure of two Queensland titles, the end of the print version of the Maribyrnong Leader in Victoria and the launch of a digital title, The Canberra Star, in Canberra. A News Corp spokesperson said that the closure in Queensland would result in no job losses due to the expansion of the Brisbane News.

Update June 6: An earlier version of this article stated that the cuts would affect the Herald Sun and The Weekly Times. News Corp has since confirmed The Weekly Times will not be affected. The story has been updated to reflect that. 


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