Fair Enough FairFax? Digital Distribution sees cuts to 120 Journalists
Digital distribution leaves 120 unemployed. Who's next?
Every week, my yoga instructor reminds us that ‘the only constant is change’ – and a look into today’s digital boom is a testament to her wisdom (Even yoga is not safe). This just in: Printing Press move out of the way, it’s all about digital distribution.
FairFax Announces Cuts
FairFax Media today announced a cut of 120 journalists and editorial staff at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. An email was sent out this morning sending staff members into a panicked frenzy.
The wounds were still healing from cuts back in August 2015, when FairFax staff voted for immediate strike action after the company said newspapers in the Newcastle and Hunter region would be losing 69 employees.
Soon after today’s announcement the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) were quick to retaliate, taking to social media to call the decision ‘shameful and short-sighted’.
MEAA CEO Paul Murphey has declared these cuts as a ‘body blow’,
“It’s the staff on the newsroom floor who have driven the transition to digital and through all the challenges continued to produce high quality independent journalism.”
The culprit behind all of this? Digital distribution.
The email sent this morning justified the cuts,
‘Change is a permanent part of our industry. It is a reflection of what we know about the way our readers are consuming our stories. We must continue to evolve with them.’
Social media has sparked a variety of responses. Facebook’s new Emoji reaction feature has shown a similar amount of smiley and frowny faces. Surprisingly however, many remain neutral, sharing the view that consumers should take responsibility for rising redundancy of journalists. Consumers are interested in fluffy journalism, and expect whatever news available to be online and most importantly, free.
Rise of the Social Platform
The redundancy of journalists and editorial staff is a reflection of current online media trends: Everything is going online. As consumers, that is what we expect. The consumption of news is undergoing two fundamental shifts; firstly, the readily available news via mobile devices, and secondly the trend of social media platforms blurring the traditional role of a journalist. The change is real and speed is rapid.
As journalism and news becomes more dependent on these social media and online platforms, traditional publishers, like FairFax, are forced to re-examine their business models and strategies.
Legal Industry to Follow Suit?
The media world is not alone as similar trends are showing up in the legal industry; both the media and legal industries are becoming more dependent on online platforms. Time and cost efficiencies are the driving factor behind these changes, and online marketplaces are the first point of call for potential clients.
Nick Abraham, author of Digital Disruption in Australia, recently commented on the changing landscape of the legal industry in Australia,
‘The practice of law will change more in the next 5 years than it has in the last 50. Never before have so many people been working to come up with ways to usurp the traditional revenue models of private practice firms.’
Online presence is central to this change and is undeniably crucial to businesses everywhere. The legal industry, a profession, often seen to be rooted in tradition and history, is beginning to recognise the benefits of going online.
There are approximately 2 billion Internet users that are using social networks and law firms are utilising these platforms to engage the community, establish their culture and amplify their client bases.
Industries are changing to meet consumer demands. The question then remains: how we will adapt?
What are your thoughts? Share them with us by tagging #lawpath or @lawpath.
Sharlene is a paralegal at Lawpath that works on our content team, which aims to provide free legal guides to facilitate public access to legal resources. In accordance to her belief that the law should be accessible by all, her writing focuses on trending topics in both the legal and technological spheres.