Sigh, Fairfax…

This will be a very quick post as I have so much on my mind, but I am pretty sure there is very little that needs to be said, apart from a few key points, that would illustrate what is wrong with news vendors in our contemporary late capitalist society.

On the 18th of June, Fairfax Media, publishers of one of the last broadsheet format newspapers in Australia (The Age – even with declining quality of journalism, it is still the most accurate and unbiased paper you can get in Melbourne), announced 1900 impending redundancies, the tabloidisation of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the closing of the Tullamarine printing press, and the monetisation of online content.

Here were the immediate consequences and results of this:

  • Fairfax shares rose from 60c before the announcement to just under 65c after it.
  • Fairfax will save over $200 million per year by 2015
  • Greg Hywood’s address contained this phrase verbatim, “…we believe that they are in the best interest of Fairfax, our shareholders, and ultimately the majority of our people. They are necessary to ensure Fairfax retains its position as a leading independent media company and a key voice in our markets”

All sounds hunky dory, right? Correct me if I am wrong, and it is probably a little late in the game to bring this up, but I thought that the primary goal of a healthy serious news broadcaster was to act, in some way, as society’s watchdog/man. In no published article was I able to find any discussion about the runaway dilution in the journalistic integrity of media vendors.

I would go into a long diatribe about the corruption of information etc. But, as I said earlier, this will be a short post and I am sure reading the above will already clue you in to what my thoughts are on the matter, as well as yours. Just one thing. How are you going to act in the best interests of your shareholders and your people, while still remaining independent, Fairfax media? 19.99% of your shares are owned by Gina Rinehardt. That is 0.01% of controlling share before she is required to make a takeover bid. No, not an editorial influence at all…

ADDITIONAL: News Limited also announced impending redundancies and the closure of nearly 75% of its regional operations today.

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