Fairfax has revealed it intends to capitalise on the $27m half-year profit made by its Sydney Morning Herald masthead by reinvesting that revenue in the most profitable part of the journalism sector, firing journalists.
Extending its readership lead over The Daily Telegraph by 1.2 million readers, editorial director Sean Alymer warned that now was not the time for the newspaper to get lazy and bloated by spending money on corporate waste, such as reporting the news.
“Readers are leaving The Daily Telegraph for the Sydney Morning Herald in droves due to our corporate promise to our readers of less journalists than the competition,” Mr Alymer told staff in a company email.
Despite recent good news, many in the industry see this as a conservative response to failed attempts at diversifying profit sources by the paper. Most controversially, an attempt to invest in just making shit up resulted in embarrassment for ‘the Graying Lady’, after a false rape story resulted in tolerated columnist Paul Sheehan going on indefinite leave.
In a symbolic example of union excess, journalists for the company went on an immediate three-day strike. Union leaders expressed concern that despite the paper’s recent good fortune, employee perks, like having a job, were still on the chopping block.
The unprecedented strike action could potentially be devastating for Fairfax, as the ability to make money by firing journalists will be severely hampered if there are no journalists in the office to fire. Mr Alymer cautioned such an action could potentially harm job security;
“Firing journalists is the central tenant of the Sydney Morning Herald‘s profit making model. If we lose money because we can’t we can’t fire journalists, then journalists’ jobs could potentially be on the line,” Mr Alymer warned.
Matthew Farthing is the media reporter for the (un)Australian. He was beaten out for the role of Head of News for Buzzfeed Australia by Crikey’s Marni Cordell. Buzzfeed Australia’s editor Simon Crerar complemented Ms Cordell as “tough, driven, and possessing a large collection of cat pictures on Instagram”.