Staff at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age were this morning told by email that the “equivalent of 120 full-time jobs” would be cut from the Fairfax Media budget.
Here’s the message they received from Fairfax Media editorial director Sean Alymer:
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.
Fairfax Media shares were up 4.8% to $0.807 in afternoon trade.
Fairfax has been shuffling sub-editing duties between staff in New Zealand and Pagemasters since 2012.
By June 2014, sub-editing on The Canberra Times, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald was being carried out across the Tasman, but last month, up to 70 full-time positions were cut in a move to hand the duties back to Pagemasters.
Paul Murphy, CEO of the journalists union Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), said the MEAA would “be fighting for every job”.