Let’s parse a few recent statements from News Limited executives in light of what the company appears to be actually doing as it fights to remodel itself to face a digital future. It makes for an interesting exercise.

The latest orthodoxy, in line with Rupert Murdoch’s assertion that people will have to pay for news content online, is that people will gladly hand over their money for news content that is “original, exclusive, has the authority and is relevant to [their] audiences”.

It’s hard to argue against the assertion that, in order to survive, news organisations will have to find a way of making their product pay for itself online. At the moment this appears to be a long way away, but that’s another argument.

What is not at issue is that to get people to pay for news content, it has to be of a higher quality than rival material appearing for free; it has to serve its market better, be original and timely — all the things News CEO John Hartigan mentioned in his speech to the National Press Club at the beginning of the month.

But while News Limited lays down such a public marker pledging quality, it is busy behind the scenes retrenching the very people who would have underwritten that quality: its loyal and long-serving journalists, photographers and artists.

For example, the week before Mr Hartigan’s Press Club Speech, The Australian sacked nine of its 18 photographers around the country. Having sacked David Sproule and Patrick Hamilton from the Brisbane bureau (saying goodbye to about 60 years service when it did so, incidentally), the national paper has left itself with scant photographic resources to cover the enormous and important state of Queensland.

The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, said in an email to staff at the time that this would not affect the paper’s commitment to pursuing the big national stories — it would just mean they would not send photographers to every diary event. Far from pursuing further excellence, the editor-in-chief of The Australian admitted that the paper will rely heavily on pool shots for its coverage.

A few months ago Campbell Reid, News Limited’s editorial director, told a forum hosted by the ABC that: “The last thing we’ll give up on is good journalism, because without that, without that bond between the reader and the newspaper, there simply is no newspaper.”

How will the bond that has grown up over the decades between News Ltd’s metropolitan mastheads and its readers be served by its National Features strategy which means that a range of lift-out sections, once produced in each state, will be put out by a centralised hub?

News maintains that this will not jeopardise the localism of the product, but a cursory glance at the first such lift-out, Your Money, produced last week out of Adelaide, which contains largely the same content with slight differences in advertising and page layouts, would suggest otherwise.

I’ve had a quick look at the sections produced for the Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and the Adelaide Advertiser — both are plugging a session of live blogging at 6.30pm that day. Is that 6.30pm in NSW or South Australia?

I don’t think any of us are under any illusions about the National Features Strategy: News Limited is prepared to sacrifice its local bond with readers for the cost savings that putting out these sections through a centralised hub will bring. It’s just a pity about all the sub-editors, page designers, freelance writers and editors who made a living putting out these lucrative sections in each of the states.

Technology has always brought with it different staffing arrangements and we accept that the impact of digital technology and the Internet will be more radical than anything we have seen to date. What we find hard to accept, though, is the manner in which these new staffing arrangements are being introduced: piecemeal, without consultation, brutally. As an Alliance member, who is a long-serving News Limited journalist, observed to me recently: “We just come in every morning and look to see which desk is newly empty.”

Journalists who have been working for News Limited loyally for many years are being tapped on the shoulder, hustled quietly up to the human resources department and shown the door, without even the chance to say goodbye to their workmates.

This is leaving a sour taste and creating the smell of fear among the remaining journalists, neither of which are ideal conditions in which to create the kind of “quality journalism” that News Limited bosses reckon will be necessary for their mastheads to compete.

But the message we are getting from our members on News Limited papers is that they desperately want to be brought into the loop on the company’s future plans. There are plenty of people who are willing to work flexibly while times are bad to ensure they are positioned to prosper with the company in the better times to come.

That’s why we have launched a campaign: “No Journos, No News” that aims to draw public attention to the job losses at News Limited and offer support to the company’s journalists who are under greater pressure than at any time in the past.

You’ll find a map of redundancies at News Limited around the country. We are hoping that, with the help of staff members, we can ensure this is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

You’ll also see tributes that have been submitted by colleagues of sacked workers. It has been a shame to hear of loyal staff, some with more than four decades of service, marched off the premises without at least being able to feel the warmth of regard from the workmates that their years of service and friendship should merit. Please take the time to send in your comments about any former colleagues you feel should be given the warmth of recognition and regard.

To News Limited we would say: we are all aware of the magnitude of the task ahead for all of us who love this industry: news managers, journalists and the Alliance as the journalists’ union.

But you would do well to be mindful of the fact that the future of your company is intimately bound up with the future of your loyal and hardworking staff.

Forget that at your peril.

Christopher Warren is the federal secretary of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance