Fairfax Media is continuing its 18-month overhaul, restructuring its non-metropolitan newspapers – including its rural flagship The Land – with the loss of around 27 jobs.
The restructure will change the frequency of publication for certain newspapers, with the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader now being published once a week, rather than twice a week, and the South West Advertiser to be discontinued.
The Advertiser closure will leave other Fairfax publications, The Liverpool City Champion and the Camden-Narellan Advertiser to cover the area.
The changes also involve redundancies of around 27 full-time equivalent positions, including administration positions.
At The Land, the company is calling for voluntary redundancies of around 16 full-time equivalent positions. Key reporters in Sydney will retain their positions, while certain senior editorial journalists from North Richmond will join a team based in Orange, in Central Western NSW.
The redundancies follow the loss of 35 full-time positions on Fairfax publications in South Australia and 47 from titles on the south coast of NSW.
Group managing editor Vernon Graham, who will be leading the group’s editorial team, said that The Land relocation would bring journalists closer to their readers.
“The present headquarters at North Richmond, although a great place to work, is too far removed from the bulk of the state’s farmers and other key rural stakeholders,” he said.
The Sydney region operating group will be led by business manager Sally White, a former editor of The Land. Ms White believes that changes to the industry are necessary to meet the needs of their evolving community.
“Technology has changed the way we farm – and it’s also changing the way we cover stories that matter to farmers,” said Ms White.
“It means we can now have journalists filing for print and online just as easily from the local saleyard as from a desk in an office. What won’t change is our commitment to being a champion for the bush.”
Joining Ms White and Mr Graham, also a former editor of The Land, will be group sales manager Karen Graham, who will look after the sales team.
Director of Australian Community Media John Angilley believes it is important for the group’s mastheads to embrace change.
“Our journalists and our sales teams will work with new skills, capabilities and resources so they can continue to do what they do best – create quality journalism and connect advertisers to our audiences,” he said.
The 18-month overhaul centres on the introduction of a digital-first publishing system, NewsNow, which enables user to operate across multiple platforms. It is about half-way completed.
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