Fresh cost-cutting at the Herald Sun. The news yesterday afternoon that Herald Sun arts editor Alison Barclay and arts writer Harb Gill will be axed as part of a fresh round of cost-cutting comes in the midst of a series of sackings condemned by the journalists’ union.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance confirms three photographers and two feature writers were forced to take redundancies from the paper. The union is claiming the move is a breach of the enterprise agreement, with a hearing of Fair Work Australia to take place on Tuesday.

The Herald and Weekly Times claims it can sack staff for “operational reasons” without consulting the union. “We’ll see what Fair Work Australia makes of it,” says MEAA. Further, the union says the agreement states members have the opportunity to bring a representative to the redundancy meeting but none were told in advance what the meeting was about.

“Three of these forced redundancies used a secret new ‘staff assessment’ tool to justify their choice. This tool is a dangerous new precedent,” the union says. “HWT is conducting staff assessments without advising staff, without seeking their input, without advising what is expected of them, without offering a right of reply.”

Separate to the redundancies, Crikey understands that Sunday Herald Sun sports editor Jamie Tate last week summarily dismissed a sub-editorial staff member who lays out the paper’s AFL stats page. And Motoring writer Neil McDonald is also preparing to depart. McDonald told Crikey this morning he was pursuing “other opportunities” but refused to be drawn on whether he had been leaned on to leave. — Andrew Crook

Saving the wild eco-journalist

“Long ago, journalists were abundant in this country. Easily identified by their furrowed brows and coffee-stained hands, they were most often seen pecking at typewriters or flocking to bars. But all that has changed, and today those who spot a journalist in the wild consider it a rare and lucky find indeed.” — Grist

Times calls for job cut volunteers

The Times is cutting its editorial budget by 10% and implementing a round of voluntary redundancies that could lead to up to 50 departures.” — The Guardian

The expanding Murdoch paywall

“The big reveal comes next week. We’ll have a better idea then whether the redesigned Times website and new Sunday Times online offering will be worth signing up for at £2 per week, or £1 for a single day’s access.” — The Independent

Out with Brown, No. 10 goes down

“As a new team swept into Number 10, so did a new digital era. Within minutes of Gordon Brown’s speech outside Number 10, all content on number10.gov.uk had been wiped and sent to the official government web archive.” — The Guardian

Facebook users enjoy security upgrade

“In the midst of another tough day for Facebook’s reputation on privacy, the social network just announced a new set of security features to protect users from having their accounts hacked.” — Business Insider

Online advertising on the up

“We know that the web ad business (and the ad business in general) is much better than it was a year ago, when it was awful. How much better?” — All Things Digital

Watson to arrive to media scramble

“Tomorrow’s coverage of the arrival of Jessica Watson will be fiercely contested by commercial networks. While TEN / ONE has been a sponsor of Watson’s around the world sail, Nine and Seven are pulling out all stops to cover the event by stealth.” — TV Tonight

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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