Business staff on Fairfax mastheads converged on Pyrmont this morning for back-to-back marathon meetings to discuss the future of the company’s newfangled “business vertical” — effectively the merger of The Australian Financial Review and The Age and Sydney Morning Herald business sections to save wads of cash.
Union representatives sat down with head of business media Sean Aylmer and news media head Garry Linnell at 9.30am to discuss the 45 redundancies announced across the business, national and life media divisions.
Importantly, the union managed to extract the true truth — the 45 redundos could be spread across all staff subject to the Fairfax EBA, not just those under those sections. And senior highly paid staff with “exemptions” under the agreement could also apply, potentially saving the flailing firm millions a year.
At 11am, staff were inveigled with a PowerPoint presentation of the new organisational structure that was flashed up on screen and not distributed in hard copy form making it hard to leak to other media. But attendees reported the chart basically mimics last year’s “topic editor” reforms, meaning separate fiefdoms across finance, corporate news and the economy, etc for the 220-strong workforce across the Fin and Business Day.
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There will be some exceptions, including columnists, who will continue to till their own protected field.
There is already some movement at the ranch — stylish national business editor Mark Hawthorne has announced he will move to The Age as a senior editor in the Media House newsroom. It was previously announced that quick-typing ex-Australian media reporter James Chessell, formerly deputy editor (business) at the Fin, will oversee the integrated business teams.