Senior Fairfax business columnist Malcolm Maiden was one of those who put his hand up for voluntary redundancy two weeks ago. His last day is Friday. He’s been with Fairfax since 1980 (when he joined The Australian Financial Review) and has been The Age‘s senior business columnist since 2007. Maiden’s column yesterday was about how technology was making many jobs obsolete.
He’s one of several big departures from Business Day, which include investigative journalist Michael West.
Until two months ago, Business Day had a close relationship with the AFR, publishing much of the same copy. But as part of the most recent Fairfax restructure this was changed, with Business Day operating more as a separate entity, with its own reporters and commentators. It might be difficult to do that with fewer reporters — both Business Day and the Financial Review have lost a lot of staff this redundancy round.
Today another staffer leaving Fairfax with a redundancy, illustrator Rocco Fazzari, has a piece on the ABC on the death of political cartooning. He writes:
“In my time in the profession, 28 years at The Sydney Morning Herald and two at the Canberra Times, I have witnessed at close range the disruption of picas to pixels and, along with the demise of the newspaper, that of the noble profession of cartooning/illustrating to its current tenuous position.
“It seems cost-cutting in the modern newsroom has made the cartoonist an easy target, with Fairfax Media recently making redundant dozens of experienced journalists, myself included.
“More are sadly bound to follow, as clickbait fever runs amok and digital metrics fail to register the beauty of a quirky piece of line work or the cleverness of a metaphor.
“We are a slow-moving target in the crosshairs of management.”