Just when Fairfax management was looking intransigent, there seem to be signs of movement behind the scenes. Crikey hears that Age editor Andrew Jaspan and his deputy Paul Ramadge will no longer be attending the 2020 Summit as participants.

Last Thursday, these words formed one of six points on editorial independence drawn up by The Age Independence Committee. These statements informed the extraordinary motion passed unanimously by 235 Age journalists:

In journalism, the reporter and observer cannot be a participant without affecting objectivity. This basic principle has been breached by the decision of the editor and senior deputy editor to attend the 2020 Summit as participants.

While other many media organisations are involved in Kevin Rudd’s summit – News Limited’s John Hartigan is chairing a panel and part of the steering committee – Age editor Andrew Jaspan and his deputy Paul Ramadge were the only editors of a major metropolitan newspaper to be attending as participants.

Now it seems the situation has changed – though whether as a result of a decision by Jaspan, or because of management direction, we don’t know.

Apparently Jaspan and Ramadge will still be going to the summit, but as observers.

No announcement has been made about this. It is likely management does not want to be seen as crumbling to staff pressure.

On the other hand, if this can be presented as an olive branch it will surely help to pull the organisation back from the brink of open warfare with its journalistic staff.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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