Monday, June 18, 2012

Fairfax Media in the News.

It's disconcerting when journalists, instead of witnesses reporting the news, become themselves protagonists of the news.

This has just happened in Australia and the news is not just disconcerting, it is frankly terrible:


Screen capture. Click for a larger image.

Fairfax Media is the publisher of the oldest and most reliable Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney). Fairfax also publishes The Age (Melbourne) and other regional newspapers, following the same SMH model; the Australian Financial Review (AFR), a daily business-focused newspaper and has interests in other media.

Although Fairfax Media's financial problems aren't recent, things started looking dire last year, when subediting was outsourced to Pagemasters, an Australian Associated Press (AAP) subsidiary, in a measure designed to cut costs, to match falling advertising revenues. (See here)

AAP is Australia's national news agency and it's co-owned by Fairfax Media, News Ltd and other smaller partners.

The news comes the same day ultra-conservative local gazillionaire Gina Rinehart announced an increase in her Fairfax stake to 18.7%. (See here)

The two things together do not bode well for Australian journalism.

Regardless of how one evaluates the news (and I'm sure many are happy with this), things like this are inevitable under capitalism:
"The sad truth for journalists in a commercial construct is that their department is exclusively a cost. It produces no revenue. Yes, it makes content, but the expense of doing that just drags on the gun arm of the business. In the commercial mind, journalistic content is either the plaster between the ads or something tailored specifically at attracting them". (See here)
I've written about this recently.

It's always sad, however, when people need to learn the truth the hard way. My solidarity goes to Fairfax Media workers.

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This was a shitty day.

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