Australian media outlet to cut over 50 editorial roles

Australian media outlet News Corp has announced that it will cut 55 editorial positions, targeting journalists that lack digital skills. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) have strongly criticized the move by News Corp management, arguing that they have failed to adequately train their workforce for the changing media landscape.

On Monday, News Corp management held staff meetings at mastheads across Australia and told staff that ‘big cuts’ would be coming within days. According to reports, staff were told that redundancies were not voluntary and instead would be based on an assessment of the skills needed in digital media.

Executive chairman Michael Miller said that News Corp needed to downsize to remain profitable and that it was looking for ‘new skills’.

MEAA media director Katelin McInerney says: “MEAA members in these newsrooms are angry News Corp is making further cuts when the company is also saying subscriptions are up, readership is up and online growth is outpacing their rivals. The subscription and readership growth has come about because skilled and experienced journalists have been delivering the kind of content News Corp readers want, despite its editorial staff already working in understaffed and under-resourced newsrooms.”

“It is counter intuitive to keep relying on short term cuts and short term thinking at a time when News Corp audiences are demanding more of their journalism. These cuts simply cannot be ‘absorbed’: fewer journalists can only mean fewer stories from and for the communities they serve,” said MEAA.

The IFJ said: “Media organisations should be working with their staff to provide adequate training to upskill staff for the changing media landscape. The fact the News Corp has reported increase growth and readership raises questions about the need for the redundancies. We reiterate MEAA’s comments that fewer journalists can only mean fewer stories, so that can quality is not compromised.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram