The restructure of business reporting at Fairfax has been announced, but staff are still trying to get to grips with what it actually means.
The words “Clayton’s merger” are being used in the newsrooms, although I am told Fairfax management have claimed that it is not merger, but merely more effective and efficient copy sharing.
The memos sent to staff can be read on my blog.
Business reporters and columnists for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and BusinessDay.com.au will work on a national basis, to a national chief of staff — yet there will also be individual business editors for each of the three publications.
The memo puts this in terms of being able to “better leverage our resources and improve our coverage”, but staff of the relevant sections remain concerned that this is code for staff cuts.
However, I am told that internally senior staff have been assured that there will be no reduction in staff, although the memo does not give this assurance. Time will tell.
Meanwhile the former Business Editor at The Age, Michael Short, has been given a new post as Editor, New Media, reporting to Editor in Chief Paul Ramadge.
The role replaces work previously done by Deputy Editor Steve Foley, aimed at helping reporters to develop their journalism across multimedia. Short has previously been a multimedia director for Bloomberg News in Paris.
Foley, meanwhile, moves “to lead our work on major news specials”.
How all this works, and what if anything it bodes for other Fairfax news sections, remains to be seen. The thing that stands out after a week of disruption in the newsrooms is the speed with which these decisions have been made, with the people concerned only being informed early this week, and the details not becoming clear — if they are clear now — until last night.