The Fairfax papers are simply the best in Australia. The SMH and The Age are very fine old papers, trying to have a go in a new century. However, someone over at Fairfax has decided that for a paper to be commercially successful in the modern media mix, it has to cost next to nothing to run. In pursuit of ‘productivity,’ Fairfax wants to lop 35 workers out of the SMH and Sun Herald staffs and make existing workers cover their duties.
Hate to break it to them, but the reason the SMH and The Age are such good papers is because they have good journos and production staff. Labour is not a commodity- the increased ‘productivity’ happy smoke that HoWARd and Rudd are blowing up our collective arses at the moment comes at a cost- to workers’ families. When you try to get one journo to write two newspapers, something, somewhere is going to break. Whether that’s an increase in absurd fluff pieces or getting caught out republishing urban myths, overworked staff don’t make for a great paper.
If anything, Fairfax should double the number of journos on the SMH & Sun Herald staffs- and start properly exploiting the online business with more professional, TV-news type packaged stories for vodcasting. With the advent of miniature, portable wireless digital video technologies, Fairfax could have a journo on nearly every streetcorner. Fairfax could own a very much fatter share of Sydney and Melbourne markets just by out-peopling Noise Ltd. Wouldn’t it be cool to get SMH top stories in a vodcast emailed to your mobile phone?
If Fairfax tries to compete merely by cutting the hearts out of their flagship assets, they’re doomed.
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