Andrew Jaspan is telling the truth. He is not on a fixed term contract.

Asked about his tenure yesterday, Jaspan told Crikey that he “was just like any member of staff”. He repeated the same line in an address to the newsroom yesterday afternoon.

The response from senior journalists was deeply sceptical. There has been a general belief – reflected in media reports – that his contract was due for renewal in October, and that this date might offer the newsroom some hope for release from his erratic management.

In fact sources today confirmed that Jaspan is not on a fixed term contract, which means there is no particular date on which Age journalists can pin their hopes. Crucial will be his relationship with his new boss Brian McCarthy.

Revenue and circulation is up at The Age , and this will count in Jaspan’s favour, as will his close relationship with Chairman Ron Walker. On the other hand Jaspan is expected to vigorously fight any moves by McCarthy to amalgamate lifestyle and other sections with those in the Sydney Morning Herald .

These issues, rather than distress among the journalists, are likely to determine the future of a man regarded as high maintenance by both his superiors and his staff, say those in a position to know.

Meanwhile in Sydney, as Fairfax journalists strike and picket, the group’s CEO David Kirk is reduced to running a union gauntlet on his way to work. Watch the former All-Black crash through the pack here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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