I should note in posting this: I’m a Fairfax subscriber.
I love the Age, for all its modern flaws. Most of my favourite cartoonists are Fairfax employees and I think a lot of the nation’s best journalism comes from its mastheads.
But, but, BUT: I do think they’re basically taking exactly the wrong strategy in trying to head off their woes – all successful news sites that have arisen/survived in the past 5 -10 years have retained their talent, accentuated their expertise and minimised their news aggregation.
Cutting the the things that make the paper worth buying (or the site worth visiting and paying to access) – the senior (expensive) journalists, the Walkley winning photographers, the quality control of subs which mean people trust your copy – is a surefire way to continue to ride the horse into the ground. It’s short-sighted.
With third-year journalists allegedly planned to replace senior journalists, as a Master of Journalism student I should be delighted at the space being created for my generation to enter the industry. My fear is that in making these myopic decisions (and choosing to announce them on a Thursday before the budget), management is wringing out the last few pennies from Fairfax’s share price before putting the bolt in the head… rather than riding out the hard parts of the slow move to profitability in the long term.
There will be no senior journalists at Fairfax in five years time at this rate.
UPDATE: I also have a cartoon up at Crikey today on the Budget and the new Australian Border Force.