MEAA members condemn Fairfax cuts
At meetings yesterday, MEAA members in the Fairfax Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms have strongly condemned the $30 million cut to the editorial budget announced by Fairfax management yesterday. Journalists have given the company until Monday to demonstrate it is serious about genuine consultation with staff to achieve savings while not cutting jobs.
MEAA Media section director Katelin McInerney said members on the floor were invested in the future of the Fairfax mastheads and the independence of their journalism.
“The Fairfax brand of independent journalism is attracting a record number of subscribers and readers because these journalists deliver the kind of fearless and objective journalism audiences in a post-truth world are so reliant upon,” she said.
“MEAA members in these newsrooms are committed to the delivery of fearless and objective journalism. That is why they are calling on the new leadership team at Fairfax to work with journalists at the coal face to find better ways to deliver that news, and find smarter sustainable ways to achieve savings. They reject the old lazy targeting of the very people the company relies upon; the people whose talent, skills and story-telling innovation are the key to the future success of the Fairfax brand of journalism,” McInerney said.
The meetings also roundly rejected attempts by management to impose ideological direction and to interfere with masthead independence and their fair and fearless journalism.
“The Fairfax motto ‘Independent. Always’ and the dedication of Fairfax journalists to that motto underpins public trust in Fairfax – they believe any departure from that would be a betrayal of the trust audiences put in them,” McInerney said.
Members also hold serious concerns that the consultation period currently proposed by management will be too short, given the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays, and that key members of the senior management decision-making team will be absent during those breaks.
Staff called on management to extend the consultation period to allow for genuine engagement with key personnel to happen.
Members have resolved to meet again next week to consider the company’s response and consider their next steps.