Fairfax to end Pagemasters outsourcing deal

Fairfax Media has alerted sub-editing contractor Pagemasters that its current deal will not be renewed, a change that could affect up to 40 paid employees.

Pagemasters, a subsidiary of Australian Associated Press that provides design, editorial and listings services to newspapers and magazines, has a contract with Fairfax to provide sub-editing and layout services to its major daily metros that will expire in July, three years after it was established.

Pagemasters managing director Peter Atkinson confirmed to The Newspaper Works that non-renewal of the current contract would have ramifications for employees and that the company was pursuing a new commercial agreement with Fairfax.

“We are still in discussions with Fairfax about a new agreement, which we hope might involve a similar and possibly even broader scope of work,” he said.

“It would also contemplate new workflows and cost models that better reflect current and future needs.”

The sub-editing contract with Fairfax, which is known Moonlight, was established in 2011 and involves production services for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times, as well as weekend editions of the mastheads.

Mr Atkinson said that the company was looking to meet the changing business requirements of clients like Fairfax and was working to find innovative and flexible solutions to meet their needs.

He said that since the time of the Moonlight deal, “the publishing industry has changed substantially … and companies such as Fairfax and AAP/Pagemasters are not immune to those changes.”

The fallout for Pagemasters staff is likely to be substantial and around 40 positions could be impacted, but the company says it is working on proposals that could lessen the negative effect of Moonlight’s termination.

“We are in discussions with numerous publishers, both in Australia and overseas, to grow and diversify our business base,” said Mr Atkinson.

“Several proposals are currently under consideration which, we hope, will provide new opportunities for Pagemasters staff, including those affected by the Fairfax changes.”

Fairfax Media were unable to comment on the matter.

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