In last Friday’s coverage of the
Fairfax AGM by Stephen Mayne and Glenn Dyer, Crikey incorrectly referred
to protesting Fairfax staff wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the
website “Save Fairfax.com.au.”
But a senior Fairfax scribe has
set us straight. The t-shirts, made especially for the AGM, actually said “Fred
got the goldmine, we got the shaft” on the front and “Save Fairfax
www.insidefairfax.com.au” on the back.
“It’s a reference to Fred
Hilmer’s $4.5 million payout, while 68 journalists and photographers
are about to lose their jobs in the latest redundancy rounds,” the
scribe told Crikey.
Last night, the staff-run website ran an article focusing on how the SMH’sspecialist sections are under threat, and earlier this week it posted criticism
of management’s “cut and run” approach which revolved around the idea
of: “When in doubt, ditch the underlings and reshuffle the deckchairs
on the Titanic”.
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So who’s behind this flagrant staff
insubordination? Our source wouldn’t name names but said: “The website
is put together by a small handful of staff outside office hours.
Stories are commissioned, written and subbed in the usual
newspaper/online way. Because it’s in blog style, it’s not difficult to
“Staff are simply aiming to air some long-standing
grievances about the way Fairfax is being managed, about management’s
lack of insight into the media industry, missed business opportunities
and about threats to the quality of news we deliver.”
throat said both junior and senior journos were involved in
contributing to and running the website. “The site, which has only been
up and running since November 3, is regularly updated, and will
continue to be throughout this redundancy campaign and beyond,” our
But Fairfax’s spokesman Bruce Wolpe said the
publisher wasn’t concerned about the site’s existence: “We believe in a
free country and free ideas and it’s not of any concern to us at all,”