Fairfax has outlined a raft of editorial changes to its papers following the mass sackings announced on Monday. Chaser rabble-rouser Chris Taylor got hold of the staff memo …

At Fairfax, we were all saddened today to read rumours of News Limited’s decision to axe 1000 jobs. We were saddened in part because of what it says about this country’s increasingly fragile media landscape; but saddened mostly because it was 900 fewer jobs than Fairfax cut, so we look like the bigger c-nts.

There has been much speculation and misinformation in recent days about how the Fairfax cuts will affect our day-to-day business, so on behalf of the board I thought it might be prudent to spell out the likely short-to-medium-term impact that the restructuring will have on our much-loved newspapers and websites.

Local news

It’s inevitable that our local news coverage will be affected by the 1900 job losses. We’re particularly sorry that many of these job cuts will come from the MasterChef Recap division, which will be reduced from 400 writers down to just 200. We’ve similarly had to axe 140 journalists from The Voice Recap department, and another 80 journalists from the Test Pattern Recap department. Despite these cuts, Fairfax promises to continue our commitment to serious quality journalism, which readers of our daily TV show recaps have come to expect.

International news

Similarly, cuts to our foreign desk will mean that our online news sites will have to limit their international coverage to only four fashion show videos per week. Fashion show photo galleries will also be scaled back, and we’ll now only have 16 full-time staff to source celebrity gossip and humorous viral videos that we can re-post on our websites as news.

The Guide

Michael Idato and Doug Anderson’s daily online videos will remain a flagship feature of The Sydney Morning Herald website, but sadly we’ve had to reduce the number of Idato’s chins from four to three. The surplus chin is expected to be redistributed to Fairfax shareholders, with the bulk of it expected to be absorbed by Gina Rinehart, who’s been looking to add an extra chin to her portfolio.

Syria coverage

Our coverage of the conflict in Syria will from now on be contained to a single small item in the world news section. So, in other words, no change.

Gerard Henderson

Under the new paywall arrangements, Gerard Henderson’s weekly column will still be made available in full for free. But readers who wish to be shielded from it can pay a small monthly fee to ensure they never have to see it.

(Sydney) Magazine

Our popular monthly glossy has also been forced to tighten its belt, undertaking to publish 30% fewer items about Brendan Cowell’s perfect Sunday, or Neil Perry’s top five ways to cook pork belly. The magazine’s mandatory features on Hot Young Butchers To Watch and Sydney’s Top 5 Power Couples will be merged to produce a single monthly feature on Sydney’s Top 5 Power Butchers.

The Wizard of Id

The half joke that appears in the final panel of The Wizard of Id comic each day will now be reduced to a quarter joke. Bristow, we’re happy to report, will remain unchanged as jokeless.

Michelle Grattan

Michelle Grattan’s glasses will be reduced in size by 30%. Although a stringent cutback, readers can rest assured that her lenses will still be thicker than those used in the Hubble telescope. Sadly, our negotiations to similarly reduce the size (or existence) of Peter FitzSimons’ bandana were unsuccessful.

Samantha Brett

It’s not all bad news. Samantha Brett will rejoin the organisation and, in addition to her weekly Sam and the City column urging women to be more open-minded about r-pe (“don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, girls — it could get you that job promotion or that nice pair of Jimmy Choos you’ve been salivating over”), she will also take on the finance round, the environment round and the foreign desk. Additionally, Brett’s left bosom will replace Elizabeth Farrelly on the opinion page, penning a weekly think piece. This will leave her right bosom free to cover state politics.

Column 8

In the new tabloid format, Column 8 will become Column 4, but its passion for blackboard menu spelling mistakes and amusing malapropisms overheard on the bus will remain unchanged.

Good Living

Unfortunately the Good Living supplement on Tuesdays will now only be able to write-up three new Surry Hills establishments each week, instead of the traditional seven. Bill Granger’s picture byline will also now look 20% less gay.

Kate Waterhouse

The popular “Lunch with Kate” column in The Sun-Herald is sadly also not immune. Budget cuts mean that Waterhouse will only be able to interview half as many of her fashion chums about their rugby league boyfriends, or the two months they just spent in LA trying to get into acting. Budget cuts have also placed the Gazebo Wine Garden “off limits” for all of these lunches, forcing Kate to leave the eastern suburbs for the first time in her life (trips to Thredbo notwithstanding) to dine at Chinese Noodle Restaurant like the rest of us.

Saturday supplements

The raft of annoying, unwanted lifestyle supplements in The Saturday Age and Herald will be reduced from 15 to 14. We apologise that it couldn’t be more. As a gesture of goodwill towards our readers, the Drive and Domain supplements will now appear in every edition of the paper throughout the week in the place where we used to put the news. Readers should also note that the jobs supplement will switch from tabloid format down to Post-It note size; this change is owing to the fact there are no longer any media jobs in Australia left to advertise.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW