Editor-in-chief Paul Ramadge told distressed Age staff yesterday that at least eight of their number were to hit the fence in a new round of redundancies.
The staff briefing was a curious affair â€“ snouts report â€“ as Ramadge invited those assembled to propose their own ideas where these redundancies should come from, engendering a potential Lord of the Flies meets Survivor experience for the lucky scribes.
Certainly the mood in the new flash Media House digs appears to be very gloomy indeed.
The Ageâ€™s iPad app is launching this week and has attracted internal criticism for being little more than a pdf version of the paper with nothing innovative at all other than an absence of newsprint.
The staff briefing was puzzled by Ramadgeâ€™s assertion that Monday to Friday is travelling well but that Saturday-Sunday are holding their own.
This is not a majority view in the newsroom nor one that is commonly held among industry observers who see Saturday and Sunday as perfectly representing the disaster that is The Age.
Saturday was once The Ageâ€™s only profitable day and now it slides into disaster area, in full public view, as it gets thinner and thinner by the week.
Sunday is the back-water, never profitable, only impactful back in the days when dinosaurs and Jeff Kennett roamed the Earth.
These days, the best the Sunday Age can manage is people like self-confessed environmental campaigner Melissa Fyfe refrying week(s)-old stories usually from the dailyâ€™s Paul Austin. Reading the writing on the (glass) wall, Fyfe is understood to have been in active discussions with federal Greens party MPs about her future.
UPDATE: At Wednesday’s Mid-Winter Ball in Canberra, The Age’s Ari Sharp showed that he is ready for any challenge as the newspaper enters its leanest era in living memory. He is accompanied by a Greens party operative Ebony Bennett, who sat with comrades from the nation’s most left-wing daily metropolitan newspaper.
THURSDAY UPDATE: The Australian has picked up our yarn here. And while unacknowledged, there is talk with News Ltd of a new approach to attribution which will mandate journalists within the company correctly attributing stories first seen at “various websites” like VEXNEWS. Of course, it’s been journalists within that company who’ve generally had the most ethical approach on this issue so they are continuing to set the highest standards within the industry.