AFR grabs another Oz journo. New Australian Financial Review chief Michael Stutchbury has made another raid on his former employer. We hear The Australian‘s respected Nabila Ahmed will defect to the Fairfax rival as its new companies editor.

Oz staff go halves with management on paywall. As New Matilda reported last week, staff at The Australian were stunned to learn they would have to pay to access their own website next year. As the following email from CEO Richard Freudenstein explains, News Limited will only meet half of the cost of a subscription — and that will be reimbursed via expense claims. Casuals and contractors will be “judged on a case by case basis”.

Hi everyone,

I am proud that The Australian is this country’s trailblazer for a new, sustainable, business model for quality journalism. Our new subscription bundles across print, online, tablet and mobile offer extraordinary value and, I believe, will be a success. Where we lead it is almost certain that our rivals will follow.

As you all know, it has been a monumental task to get to launch yesterday. There are too many people to thank individually, but on behalf of Chris and The Australian’s management team, I thank everyone who has worked on the project for their incredible efforts in creating a world-class digital offering.

As you will have seen, we have launched The Australian’s digital subscription offering with a free three month trial.  At the end of that trial News Limited staff will be offered a special 50% discount.

The Australian will reimburse the cost of digital subscription passes for all permanent employees of the newspaper. Claims should be made using the standard expenses procedure.

Expense claims by contract and casual employees will be judged on a case by case basis. To avoid misunderstandings, contract and casual employees should seek approval from their department manager before signing up for a paid digital subscription.

Please note that we will not reimburse digital subscription periods longer than four weeks at a time and reimbursement will be for digital subscriptions only. Print and digital bundles will not be reimbursed.

In addition Nic Hopkins will set up a number of general editorial logins for staff to use in the office. This will save us having to go through the expenses process every four weeks for general work use. If you wish to log in out of the office, you should set up your own account and claim the cost back.


Richard Freudenstein
CEO | The Australian
CEO | News Digital Media

Fund-raiser for Occupy’s stolen goods. A fund-raiser is being held to reimburse items protesters lost during the Occupy Melbourne movement — but it will rely solely on the honesty of those claiming losses. Crikey intern Harrison Polites reports a group of concerned protesters are holding a small movie night fund-raiser this Saturday at the Ross House Community Centre to aid the people who lost belongings during Friday fortnight’s police raid. The event is being run separately from the consensus of the Occupy Melbourne movement.

They assumed that Occupy Melbourne’s legal team had documented all the items lost during the carnage — an assumption that was yesterday proven to be false. Despite this, fund-raiser organisers still intend to hold the event, but will donate the proceedings to anyone who claims to have had property lost or confiscated during the protest.

Joyce assures Qantas frequent fliers. Alan Joyce is sorry. But frequent fliers can now book Qantas flights with confidence, the embattled CEO told his best customers in an email last night: “Regardless of how and when the agreements are reached, the period of uncertainty and instability for Qantas is over. We are moving forward and putting this dispute behind us.”

Academic Virginia Lee got the same email, and sent one back to the CEO. No doubt Joyce hasn’t got around to reading it, so we reproduce it here:

Dear Mr Joyce,

Firstly, thank you for the update on the events as they are unfolding. But I have to advise you of the following issues that have arisen due to your recent action. While these are my personal opinions only, I must also advise that they are widely held by my colleagues in the University system and those I work with in the commercial world of practice, here and overseas.

  1. I am a gold frequent flyer due to my loyalty to the Qantas brand and the fact that it is staffed by Australian pilots and serviced in Australia. I have always been willing to pay more for this surety. Your action has completely undermined this
  2. Your unilateral decision to place so many people’s lives in chaos and uncertainty is unforgiveable — any loyalty to the operations and ongoing existence of Qantas as an Australian entity is trashed.
  3. Despite your assurances I now have little confidence in being able to travel where I want — and while I am not entirely sympathetic with the unions I was prepared to wear the inconvenience while things were being played out through the appropriate channels. Due entirely to your actions I am currently instructing all my future travel to be arranged through Virgin Australia and via alternative international carriers. I will not be travelling on JetStar or JetScare as it is known as I’m over being treated badly.
  4. We hear that you are making big losses on international routes. I have had multiple overseas journeys with you over the past few years and not once have I been anything but jammed in to fully booked planes — how can this be that you are making losses — can it be poor management decisions? I have to travel economy in the University system and I suffer for it. The time when I couldn’t fly with you due to scheduling issues, was with Cathay Pacific which was far more comfortable. Despite this I elected to remain with Qantas. Now I see no further reason to do this. You will trash the airline whether we support Qantas or not. I regard this as the Board’s and your agenda.
  5. Your expansive pay rise voted in in the middle of industrial action and in the face of Occupy movements around the world in relation to corporate greed and insolence smacks of an organisation only in touch with the big business end of town and not your paying customers. As a public relations exercise this was disastrous and lost you even more support at grass roots level.

There is more but I know this will be another waste of time as I consider that Qantas management is so out of touch with the everyday existence of their customers that you will see I come from a University, brand me as left wing and ignore my opinions.

I see this is sent on a do not reply email — so even in response we customers have no voice. I have tried to find an email to send this back to you with little luck so I will send to others to see if they can find a way through your one-way firewall. Please do not email me again.

Best of luck with the future dismantling of our once great carrier and Australian icon

You’ve lost me

Yours sincerely

Professor Virginia Lee