Readers of Walkley award winner Jack Marx’s Daily Truth blog at Fairfax have been in some distress over the last fortnight, as you can see by reading the more than 400 comments on this post.

It seemed as though Marx had quit without any explanation or notice to his fans. There was all kinds of speculation, but late yesterday afternoon he was suddenly back, with vague talk of having taken a “holiday”.

So what happened? Mutterings within Fairfax suggest it was just an old fashioned dispute about pay, ultimately resolved in Marx’s favour.

As noted by Marx’s fans, several of Fairfax’s “lifestyle” blogs have been cut back recently, with bloggers such as Sam de Brito being asked to take pay cuts and write only three times a week instead of daily.

Had Marx had this forced upon him Fairfax would surely have had to change the name of his blog. “The Tri-Weekly Truth” doesn’t have quite the same ring. Crikey understands that Marx will now continue to write daily.

As Crikey has reported previously, Marx’s blog, medium for the Walkley award winning Russell Crowe profile, began because the makers of Absolut Cut vodka premix drinks approached Fairfax wanting to commission “edgy” copy for them to advertise around. Absolut wanted to appeal to young men who might otherwise think a premix drink wasn’t “cool.”

Hence the name of Marx’s blog, coined to fit in with Absolut’s “cut the crap” advertising slogan.

The contract with Absolut has long since expired and the associated advertising campaign is over. Fairfax have kept the Marx blog on, but meanwhile the Fairfax bloggers are muttering that there is a distinct unwillingness to spend on the online presence.

Blogs written by Fairfax staff members are on the increase, but the freelancers seem to be feeling the squeeze, just as poaches key Fairfax personnel and starts throwing the cash around, recruiting bloggers such as Tim Dunlop from the wild.

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey