Yet another gloating piece in today’s Australian about the exit of senior journalists from The Sydney Morning Herald.

The latest list of voluntary redundancy seekers will decimate the paper’s sports coverage. The list includes irreplaceable sports columnist Roy Masters, sports managing editor Rod Allen, award-winning sports writer Jacqueline Magnay, top notch soccer writer Michael Cockerill and two award-winning photographers Craig Golding and Tim Clayton who have decided to follow picture editor Mike Bowers who left two weeks ago.

Other veterans who are quitting chateau despair are former Australian Financial Review editor Gerard Noonan, outstanding colour writer and one-man memory bank Tony Stephens, executive editor Sam North and veteran science reporter Richard Macey.

But News Ltd scribblers are not giving any like the same coverage to the personnel meltdown which is happening under their very noses at The Sunday Telegraph.

Under the editorship of the great helmsman Neil Breen, the Sunday Telly has lost a raft of senior reporters in recent months.

The declining circulation seems to be going hand-in-hand with dramatically declining staff numbers.

The exodus includes one of the city’s top crime reporters Neil Mercer; entertainment editor Philip Koch; fashion editor and celebrity magnet Melissa Hoyer; columnist and author Sandra Lee who has sought refuge on the Sunday magazine; senior reporter Ellen Connolly; arts gurette Diana Simmonds; film critic Paul Le Petit, writers Stephen Corby who has taken the editorship of Top Gear magazine, Sarah Blake, Katherine Danks (ex-AAP), Adam Bell, Ben Johnson and Andrew Chesterton who has also joined Top Gear.

Breen’s unusual editorship has been a shock to many staff members who have complained about his managerial approach. His favorites can do no wrong while the outsiders find themselves, well, outside.

Perhaps it’s time CEO John Hartigan used his highly regarded reputation as a journo’s journo to make a few phone calls to ask what’s going on.

Peter Fray

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