Is Print Media Dead? Ask Fairfax


The future of print media as we know it in Australia was dealt a body blow this week when Fairfax Media announced that they would shed 1,900 jobs, shrink the size of their print versions of key news titles and charge for subscriptions to their online sites.

This is obviously devastating news for the people affected by the job cuts, but beyond those immediate concerns, there are questions being asked about what these changes mean for the future of the media in Australia.

I’m all in favour of both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age moving to a smaller size – it’s not the size that matters (!) it’s the content and the editorial charter.  What may affect this more deeply, is the loss of so many journalists; with pundits assuming one in every four or five Fairfax journos being shown the door.

I’m also in favour of purchasing online content because we need to place value on high-quality online content.  Fairfax has been running with this model for quite some so an extension to their SMH and Age titles is a natural and sensible progression.

What is frightening is that soooo many wonderful and talented journalists will be unemployed and it’s unlikely that any of the Murdoch titles have the capacity to take many on – although I do suspect some interesting cherry picking to ensue!

However, with every cloud…

This move by Fairfax may in fact create a significant wave of change in Australia’s media make-up if some of the sacked Fairfax journalists follow in the footsteps of their previous Fairfax colleagues – I refer to of course Amanda Gome at www.SmartCompany.com.au and Alan Kohler at www.EurekaReport.com.au.  With the possibility of key Australian journalists left wanting to ply their craft, they may create their own online media outlets –meaning we may in fact get the opportunity to relish increased diversification in our media through innovative and passionate ex-Fairfax reporters.

Perhaps the sadness in all of this is Fairfax’s grand underestimation of the value of its brand. Fairfax holds a unique place in the Australian media landscape with flagship titles such as The Australian Financial Review and BRW in addition to Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.  It seems to me that rather than playing to their strengths, they’ve been overtaken by their weaknesses – for this the management needs to answer…


Yours in PR

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1 Comment »

  1. Nice article, but you haven’t made a conclusion. Is print media dead? I will try to answer this question… NO, it will continue. For many many years, just like libraries will continue to stay.

    What is classical will remain classical forever.

    Black and white movies, black and white photographs, black and white ads, print media, beautiful women walking through the shopping centres absolutely without any makeup…. etc.. etc..

    In the same way, print media will also stay forever. It may become very difficult to find, but it can be found and the right people will find print media….


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