How do you produce three papers with a skeleton staff? It can be done, especially if you’ve got plenty of copy across a network to draw on.

The Saturday, Sunday and Monday editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have plenty of AAP copy, front-page splashes written by the company’s most senior editorial leaders, and articles with no bylines at all. But they also include bylined copy from journalists, mostly from The Australian Financial Review.

The Fin isn’t as heavily unionised as the two metro papers. And while someone’s byline in the paper isn’t proof that journalist decided to break the strike — journalists often file early — the sheer quantity of bylines from the Fin suggests plenty of its journos were hard at work as their colleagues manned the picket line.

One Fin journo filing over the weekend was Rear Window’s Joe Aston, who wrote this morning that he was no scab:

I am not a private contractor. I haven’t been flown in from Dubai by [former waterfront boss and union buster] Chris Corrigan. I am turning up to work for my employer, as per my contractual obligations, and I am declining to participate in an unlawful strike organised by a union I’m not a member of.”

Fairfax’s editors are also filling the paper themselves. The editors-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age hit the keyboards to pump out front-page yarns over the weekend.

On Saturday, the SMH carried a story on the Senate shenanigans by none other than editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir, helped along by Age senior editor Mark Hawthorne. There’s nothing exclusive or particularly exciting about the report, but it got the front page filled. And today, the front page of the Age is an exclusive brought in by “staff writers”. The online version, however, credits the report, detailing the Victorian state government’s potential sale of the Port of Melbourne, to acting Age editor-in-chief Mark Forbes.

The Age’s editors certainly pulled their weight during the strike. Senior editor Mark Hawthorne managed a neat exclusive on Saturday, with Italy-based freelancer Josephine McKenna, about Italian prosecutors slamming Australia’s policing of the local mafia. Also filing lots of copy was Business Day editor Mathew Dunckley. Alice Archer, the long-standing advertising, features and supplements editor at the Age, also stepped up.

Yarns aside, social media users were quick to spot the sometimes staggering errors in the paper …


From Saturday’s Age, misspelled names highlighted

Surely that had to be intentional?

All Fairfax staff are back to work this morning.

Peter Fray

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