Shocking news today.
Fairfaz media today announced a raft of sweeping changes to the way they operate over the next three years including the excising of 1900 jobs, mostly in their print facilities, and the conversion of the two oldest newspapers in the country, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from broadsheets to tabloids by march 2013.
It wasn’t a wholly unexpected decision since Fairfax, like many traditional media companies around the world, has struggled with the rise of new media, which has had a deleterious effect on the revenues it once earned. But even so the breadth of the decisions announced which stand to save the company $235 million over three years, and which also includes the closing of Fairfax’s print facilities in Tullamarine and Chullora by 2014, surprised many people.
Particularly concerning is that fact that so many journalists – the estimate is up to 400 – will lose their jobs which makes Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood’s claim that the highest journalistic standards would be maintained, suspect at best. How can fewer journalists maintain the same standards and provide the depth and wide-ranging extent of Fairfax’s current news-gathering capabilities?
However it plays out, this is one of the most significant announcements by an Australian media company in quite some time and a clear sign that the digital revolution, is not done yet with transforming the media landscape as we have known it.