Three of The Sydney Morning Herald’s most-experienced business reporters — Ian Verrender, Elisabeth Sexton and Scott Rochfort — will depart the paper after accepting redundancy.
The departure of Verrender, a Walkley-award winner who edited the business section for eight years, is seen as an especially big loss for the 181-year old paper. The Herald‘s business section is famous for its willingness to take on the big end of town — a propensity some applaud and others criticise as “anti-business”.
Verrender’s strident Saturday SMH column has long been regarded as a harbour city must-read because of his willingness to cut through corporate spin. He departs the paper after 25 years on staff.
Sexton, who specialises in reporting on corporate law issues, is leaving after 15 years at the Herald. Sexton began her career as a cadet at The Australian Financial Review and worked there until 1994. She also did a three-year stint at The Bulletin.
Crikey understands both Verrender and Sexton, who will finish on Friday, are weighing up what to do in their post-Fairfax careers.
Rochfort, who edits the irreverent CBD business gossip column, is departing after eleven years at the paper. His column also runs in The Age business section.
Economics editor Ross Gittins, political editor Peter Hartcher and investigative gun Kate McClymont are understood to be on a “protected species” list of journalists who are not eligible for voluntary redundancy even if they are keen to leave.
In a further blow to science reporting, following Leigh Dayton’s departure from The Australian, SMH science editor Deborah Smith has also joined the flight from Fairfax. Smith has been at the paper for the past 25 years.
Debra Jopson, who won a Walkley in 2004 for her reporting on indigenous affairs, is leaving after 18 years. Sports writer Josh Rakic has also taken redundancy.
Other big names to have departed in the current redundancy round include senior writer David Marr, social affairs writer Adele Horin and education editor Andrew Stevenson.