Support floods in for AAP journos after job cuts announced
There has been strong support for AAP journalists after the company announced it would be making up to 15% of its workforce redundant.
On Tuesday, June 5, AAP told staff it planned to make 20 to 25 editorial positions redundant before June 30, leaving employees only a week to consider their options.
Pressure from MEAA members at AAP led management to an extension of the deadline for applications for voluntary redundancy to a cut-off of midday on Friday, June 15.
Support for AAP journalists has come from the House Committees of MEAA members at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review newspapers. In a joint resolution addressed to their colleagues at AAP, MEAA members at the Fairfax Media metro publications (AAP is jointly owned by Fairfax 47%, News Corp 45% and Seven West Media 8%) said:
We condemn the endless cuts to journalists' numbers on the ground. These are cuts that are eroding journalism in Australia and the ability of journalists to do our jobs and protect and inform the communities we serve.
We stand with our colleagues at AAP in the face of their management's decision to cut between 20 and 25 journalist jobs, a cut that impacts us all.
The loss of such vital newsgathering people - at a time when our organisation relies so heavily on the skills and ability of AAP journalists to fill the gaps left in our newsrooms by year-on-year job cuts - is senseless and deeply damaging.
We call on Fairfax management and the other shareholders of the AAP business to reinstate these jobs so our audiences don't lose out. Our communities count on us to keep them informed and provide them with the real story.
The national News Corporation House Committee endorsed this motion in support of their AAP colleagues:
We condemn the ceaseless cuts to journalists' numbers on the ground- cuts that are eroding journalism in Australia and the ability of journalists to do our jobs, and protect and inform the communities we serve. We stand with our colleagues at AAP in the face of their management's decision to cut between 20 and 25 journalists’ jobs - a cut that will impact us all.
The loss of such vital newsgathering people, at a time when our organisation relies so heavily on the skills and ability of AAP journalists to fill the gaps left in our own newsrooms by year-on-year job cuts, is senseless and deeply damaging. We call on News Corp management, a part-shareholder in AAP's business, to reinstate these jobs so our audiences - our communities that count on us to keep them informed and provide them with the real story - don't lose out.
Support has also been pouring in via Twitter:
AAP offers a precious service: reliable, trusted and dependable reporting. Freeloaders who simply Google AAP’s work, and the work of the ABC and other news platforms, to fill their radio, TV and online platforms are pirates. #JournalismComesWithAPrice
— Andrew Probyn (@andrewprobyn) June 5, 2018
AAP is an increasingly essential news service in an age of shrinking newspaper budgets. I learnt a lot from my time there. Feeling much empathy for former colleagues and mates https://t.co/Q7k24Cn4Ei
— andrea mayes (@andreamayes11) June 6, 2018
AAP is home to so many cracking journos, one of whom got a Walkley nom just last week. Terrible news for Australian journalism. https://t.co/m6vHL9oSHQ
— Stephanie Anderson (@stephanieando) June 5, 2018
— gdaybklyn (@gdaybklyn) June 5, 2018
But how are media companies, who have cut their own journos, going to be able to fill websites with copy if AAP isn’t filing?? Take out a subscription peeps. Donate. Buy a paper. Don’t wait till it’s too late.. https://t.co/Y16S9Bh6jp
— Peter kerr (@Kerrscur) June 5, 2018
AAP is such an essential service and employs some of the best journos in the country. This is bullshit. https://t.co/auUyvke3TG
— Calla Wahlquist (@callapilla) June 5, 2018
This is just ludicrous. How many more journos can they possibly cut? Journalists continue to suffer with little pay, long hours and most of all a lack of overall appreciation for their brilliant storytelling. @withMEAA #enoughisenough #journorights https://t.co/hlRTIpHJSj
— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) June 5, 2018
Extremely hard day for my old colleagues at AAP. They're a dedicated group of professionals who are hardworking, ethical and largely underappreciated. https://t.co/vgYZ7T0GLi
— Paul W. Purcell (@purcellpw) June 5, 2018
AAP staff have told AAP management that given the scale of editorial job losses, it is likely to be an extremely tough road ahead for affected staff. The company has stated that it will force redundancies if its target is not reached through voluntary applications.
MEAA urges AAP to show compassion and courtesy by allowing staff more time to plan for their future and to listen to their ideas on ways to cut costs, improve efficiencies and save jobs. See MEAA's statement here.