New news from Fairfax. An email that was sent to all Age staff this morning from Jack Mathhews, CEO of Metro Media:

From: The Age – Staff Notices
Sent: Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:28 PM
To: All Age – All Staff
Subject: EBA negotiations update – Message from Jack Matthews, CEO Metro Media


I would like to update you all on our EBA negotiations with the MEAA which commenced last week.

Yesterday Fairfax presented a comprehensive proposal to the MEAA and House Committee representatives. I have attached a broad outline of key strategic drivers which underpin our proposal as well as an overview of the proposal itself.

Our proposal incorporates a wage proposal, a willingness to negotiate coverage and a commitment to training and consultation. Other areas of the EBA would remain the same as the current EBA which has been in place for the past three years.

The meeting yesterday was productive, and I am hopeful that we will be able to progress these discussions at a reasonable pace. The company has authorised a union report back meeting today from 4 to 4.30pm. I will keep you apprised as bargaining proceeds.

Jack Matthews
CEO Metro Media
Fairfax Media

Attached was a three-page document outlining “Key Strategic Drivers”, with subheadings Meritocracy, Flexibility, Reallocating resources and Reducing overall cost base. The most interesting “Strategic Drivers” cover money issues, including:

  • In general, where extra resources are put in one area, they will be removed from another. This is a zero-sum situation. The company can no longer simply add costs.
  • The company is seriously challenged by structural changes to its traditional businesses, in spite of the opportunities that exist in the digital environment.
  • Given these structural challenges and very high fixed costs and overheads, the company is unable to offer across the board automatic salary increases or salaries simply aligned to external factors, inflation etc.
  • Our offer is tied to the reality of our ability to pay and to our strategy to find a sustainable model for the mastheads.

Read the full document here.

That ain’t no thumb. It’s not just typos that slip through when the subeditors get the boot. In an Age article about naked sport this morning, the accompanying photo showed a little more skin than normal. It didn’t take long before the picture was, um, pulled and replaced by a cropped version…

Sunrise picks up a Crikey yarn. This morning’s Sunrise rehashed Crikey’s scoop from yesterday on the South Australian Attorney General’s plan to ban planking, even talking to the “unofficial Australian Planking President Sam Weckert”, who seemed thoroughly unconcerned about a crackdown on his beloved pastime…

Front page of the day. US President Barack Obama made a return to his ancestral Irish homeland — a cause for much celebration in Ireland. There was Guinness flowing, and the Irish Independent‘s headline even has “Yes we can” in Gaelic:

Backstage at Al Jazeera

“Nothing prepared us for what we saw happening across the Arab world this year. One network knew damn well how to report a revolution. Michael Paterniti takes us behind the cameras at Al Jazeera.” — GQ

Twitter finally buys Tweetdeck

“Twitter is poised to acquire London-based startup TweetDeck in a $40m (£25m) deal that will make 36-year-old founder Iain Dodsworth a multimillionaire.” — The Guardian.

Anonymous gay military blogger joins TIME

“TIME’s Battleland blog announced today a new contributor called “Officer X” — a young, gay pilot in the U.S. military who is going to post regularly about the repeal of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and offer a first person account of what it is like to be a gay service member.” — Media Bistro

Au revoir Oprah

“For the final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” taped Tuesday, the talk show queen appeared alone on her Chicago stage, talking to viewers about what they’ve meant to her during the show’s 25-year run.” Forbes