The Age newspaper has today been reduced to begging its readers for assistance in identifying potential stories from government reports.
Even leftist urgers at the blogsite grods were up in arms about the development, condemning what one red-ragger described as “DIY journalism”.
Others see it as part of the ongoing betrayal of the once proud journal of the Left descending further into the gutter of “efficiencies” and “extreme capitalism” championed by board members like Ron Walker, a former fundraiser for the Liberal Party. It is a strongly left-leaning newspaper, with a newsroom full of pampered leftists (not exclusively but the dissidents stay very quiet hoping not to be noticed) used to getting their own way, but is managed by hard-heads who want to keep their big salaries pumping by keeping the business alive as long as possible.
Advertising revenue in every medium is under considerable pressure but particularly in newspapers. The Age, which only makes a profit on one day of the week, is under enormous strain because of collapsing sales of classified ads in employment, real estate and automobiles. Interestingly, the one area that has endured reasonably well is the hatched, matched and dispatched pages where they lag behind the Herald Sun anyway.
So in any enterprise, if the sales are down and cannot be turned around, then cuts to expenses must be made. And will inevitably continue unless The Age can broaden its editorial appeal beyond the tastes of left-wing inner-city barristers and social workers to the broader community of all Victorians.