SCABBY: The Age management scramble to put paper together without staff

Despite the staff all knocking off after a decision to go and out on strike this afternoon, VEXNEWS has learned that the management of The Age have decided to press on regardless and attempt to put out a strike-busting edition.

What the highly unionised production staff make of this will be very interesting to see. Fairfax management are saying The Age and other newspapers will definitely be produced tomorrow “as normal”.

They will be particularly concerned about the Herald and The Age’s only profitable day: Saturday. They’ll be doing well if they can keep going til Monday.

In a move that will scandalise the newsroom, included in The Age’s crew of management strike-busters is believed to be Editor (Special Projects and Jaspan Hunter) Mark Baker, formerly of the Canberra Times and believed to be the favoured son of former Rural Press overlord Brian McCarthy.

Wire services report that brave Michael “Below the Fold” Bachelard has been tooting the horn for his fellow scribes:

Senior Age journalist Michael Bachelard said staff at the Melbourne broadsheet were angry about the cuts and long-term pay negotiations.

“This was a motion that arose spontaneously from the floor of the meeting because people are angry at the way the company has treated them both in terms of Enterprise Agreement negotiations and also the redundancy announcements,” Mr Bachelard said.

“Age staff are passionate about their masthead and their readers, and are disappointed that the managers of the company appear willing to sacrifice quality journalism for the sake of the bottom line.”

Some will think delivering a quality product is synonymous with a healthy bottom line. Bachelard’s argument appears to be that if you have more people, you’ll necessarily have a superior product. And that you either have quality or healthy bottom line, you can’t have both, he appears to be arguing.

That’s not necessarily the case as the Herald Sun and The Australian repeatedly demonstrates, allocating fewer journalists to stories than The Age often enough but consistently delivering more exclusives and a more readable interesting product most of the time.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “SCABBY: The Age management scramble to put paper together without staff

  1. Ruffy

    I thought the no journo model had already been tried and tested in the bush under Rural Press.

  2. ruefax media

    One of the things that upset journos at Rufax Press the most this week was the unbelievably dumb decision to sack the company’s in-house lawyers. No longer will reporters and editors have access to instant, competent and experienced legal advice over stories. It will now cost hundreds of dollars to have stories “legalled”, which means that — under the nickels and dimes McCarthyist regime now in charge — editors will run a million miles from risky stories. You can’t get sued over Hollywood gossip wire stories or trivial neighbourhood yarns. Non-metro papers will be especially hard hit. Outside Sydney its hard to find law firms which don’t have huge conflicts of interest when it comes to stories about regional big-hitters. Not only that, there aren’t many lawyers who know jack-shit about defamation or other crucial branches of media law. This decision will cost money, not save it, and it signals more clearly than most of these idiots’ other dumb decisions that they don’t give a flying f–k about quality journalism.

  3. Former AJA member

    The Age has been going down hill ever since Ron Walker was appointed to the board.

    While once I use to read it daily now I am reluctant to only read the supplementary magazines whilst having coffee on the weekend.

    As for NEWS I have switched to News Limited and Internet sites such as VEXNEWS who has a great news high lights column.

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