Today is the deadline for staffers seeking redundancy at
Nine Melbourne. But Nine’s staff-slashing drive is not
being met with the same enthusiasm as the Fairfax exercise – while it’s a case
of last one in the building grab your package and turn off the lights at The
, down the road at Nine a mere three staffers have put up their

We understand that only veteran hack Charles Slade and
two 50-something cameramen have signed on for redundancy. This, despite
continued discontent with unpopular Nine news director Michael Venus, which some
thought might lead to a stream of volunteers to jump

Where this leaves the Nine beancounters’ drive to save $1
million a year is anybody’s guess. The next step may be a bit of prodding by
management, followed by the spectre of forced redundancies.

So what’s the problem? “It’s a sheltered workshop in there,”
says one close observer. “Packer is notorious for not spending money on desks,
chairs or office comforts, let alone technology. The upshot is that all the news
tape editors, for example, work on antique editing hardware that the rest of the
world left behind a decade ago. They may be fast and accurate, but their
skills have no application beyond the walls of Channel Nine.”

As for journalists, the two for one rule apparently still
applies at Bendigo St. “The place is full of eager young reporter clones who are
simply grateful to be there,” says our source. “They cop the low pay because
they’re always told ‘there are 300 people at the gate waiting for your job.’
Naturally, the same 300 are also waiting outside Seven and Ten.”

So instead
of paying for experience, Nine hires a couple of expendable foot soldiers for
the price of one. There’s nowhere else for the young hands to

Insiders say the production desk has been top heavy with former Seven
news directors for years; Neil Miller, Colin Pattison, Bob Kearsley. They won’t
leave because if Venus goes, someone might finally move up, most likely
the popular Neil Miller, ex-Seven and Ten news director.