125 journalist jobs go as Fairfax strips out $30 million in costs

Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Fairfax Media is cutting $30 million in costs including the loss of 125 editorial jobs from its major newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review.

In an email, editorial director Sean Aylmer told staff the move is part of creating a sustainable newsroom for the future.

The company is also capping rates paid to contributors, saving $3 million a year by reducing the number of shifts for casual journalists and renegotiating third party supply agreements.

The company will soon open a voluntary redundancy program to cut staff by 125. This includes the 10 journalists who have left the newsroom since the review process started last month.

“While we will be looking across all parts of the newsroom, at the end of the redundancy program we expect there will be significantly fewer editorial management, video, presentation and section writer roles,” Aylmer said in the email.

Contributors will now be paid per article, rather than per word.

The cuts also come with a management restructure, including the creation of a news director, a national creative director and a national head of video and a new head of travel and food.

A short time ago, Fairfax shares were down 0.9% to $1.07.

Fairfax in February said its hard copy mastheads will continue to be printed “for some years yet”.

The media group is in the middle of restructuring its business and maintaining an intense focus on cost reduction, a stronger emphasis on digital publishing and in building new revenue opportunities.

The company also plans to list on the ASX its Domain classifieds as a separate ASX company to extract full value from that fast growing business.

The latest half year results show the company with an after tax net profit up 205.6% to $83.7 million on revenue of $913.0 million, down 4%. Underlying profit, without significant items, rose 6.1% to $84.7 million.

(Disclosure: Allure Media, the publisher of Business Insider, is 100% owned by Fairfax Media.)

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