Capital city newsrooms owned by Fairfax are suffering from restructuring changes as the company attempts to save $30 million per year. However, these costs are not staff related and will focus instead on editorial operations to get the savings that are needed.
The media group is implementing changes through a ‘process of consultation’ across the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today newsrooms. Consultations with staff started on Wednesday, which can involve the omission of roles or the introduction of new roles.
Chris Janz, the managing director of Australian Metro Publishing, has said that there is a reason for the restructure is a change in the business model.
“The primary focus of Fairfax Media over recent years has been to lay the groundwork for the creation of a sustainable publishing model. We are now within reach of that goal,” Janz said. “Our publications will be genuine digital businesses with the capabilities and cost base to best operate in the current media environment. We will be introducing an innovative mix of new products to deliver our audience focused, quality journalism and maximise our revenue opportunities.”
Fairfax has been increasing their focus on Domain, of which they control 60-70%. This will allow Fairfax to access cash flow while undergoing the restructure.
For those of us who like to read their Sydney Morning Herald in its physical form, Janz has reassured Fairfax readers that the traditional paper will continue.
“We will continue to print for many years, so long as our newspapers have an audience and advertisers,” Janz affirmed.
With a bit of luck, they’ll still have advertisers interested in their paper copies, but “for many years” is not as solid a promise as some would like.