The Age journalists outside Media House. Photo courtesy Eddie Jim
The Melbourne Press Club has declared its sympathy for journalists at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald who have called a week-long strike in the face of further big staff cuts in the Fairfax newsrooms.
“We lament the heavy job losses announced by Fairfax Media and our thoughts are with every reporter, sub-editor and photographer now confronting an uncertain future,” MPC President Michael Rowland said.
“Never has there been a time when quality journalism is more needed. The thinning out of newsrooms at media organisations across Victoria and around Australia makes it much harder to hold governments and other public institutions to account.”
Rowland urged Fairfax Media to reconsider the cuts, which will see the loss of about 125 jobs in Melbourne and Sydney – roughly a quarter of the current newsroom numbers.
At a post-State Budget lunch jointly hosted by the MPC and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas expressed his concern at the impact of the latest round of job cuts at Fairfax.
Treasurer Tim Pallas speaking about journalism at the Post-Budget lunch
"Democracy doesn’t function without an independent and a robust press, and The Age has done an outstanding job over a very long period of time. My sympathies are with all those people confronting where their future lies,” Pallas told a 400-strong audience of media and business leaders.
“It’s obviously going to be a very difficult time. And really, the fact that I from time to time do get irritated by journalists is a sign that journalism works. It’s a sign that in many ways we have to fight to preserve the need for an independent and a critical journalistic industry.
“The integrity of journalism I think is important and the fact that they irritate politicians and ask us questions we don’t like and report on wonderful achievements that you don’t see as quite so wonderful I think is a demonstration that you’re doing your job.”