Nine takeover: Fairfax abolishes News Desk, makes copygirls and copyboys history

by | Dec 3, 2018 | Despatch

The Sydney Morning Herald has finally got rid of its news desk.  No more copykids. The emails to staff went around today heralding more cuts.

Like other newsrooms around the world, Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have endured umpteen rounds of redundancies. Today, remaining journalists at the Herald watched their news desk disappear.

The news desk is where copyboys and copygirls cut their teeth, fielding tips and complaints. Many a famous journalist began a career on the news desk.

The original version of this story has been changed.

This is today’s email from Nine’s Hugh Marks to staff in the merged Nine/Fairfax business:

A message from Hugh Marks – Introducing the new Nine operating approach

Dear Colleagues,

As we all know from the Federal Court’s approval of the merger of Fairfax and Nine last week, on Monday, December 10 we will be one new media business. A business that houses many of Australia’s leading media brands and that will operate across most Australian media platforms.
The new corporate structure is designed to strengthen our offerings to audiences and clients, including maximising our combined ability to invest in quality Australian content and journalism.
The group will be organised into the following operating businesses:
Australian Community Media, Printing and Stuff – which continues to be led by Allen Williams, Managing Director Community and Printing. The New Zealand business, Stuff, will report through to Allen but continues to be run by CEO Sinead Boucher.
Publishing: including, Metro Mastheads, Nine Digital and Events – will be led by Chris Janz as Managing Director, Publishing.
Stan – led by CEO Mike Sneesby; and
Television – led by Michael Healy as Director of Television.
Greg Barnes will be Chief Financial Officer.
Michael Stephenson will continue in his role as Chief Sales Officer with Lizzie Young continuing as Group Director of Content Strategy, which includes Powered.
Other Corporate appointments include Alexi Baker as Director of Strategy and Corporate Development; Rachel Launders as General Counsel and Company Secretary and Vanessa Morley as Director of People and Culture.
Details of your other senior leaders will be available on both the merger portal as well as the merged Group’s website.
As part of the merger, Nine becomes majority shareholder in Domain led by Jason Pellegrino, and Macquarie Radio led by Adam Lang. Both businesses will remain as separately listed companies with independent boards.
In total 144 roles will be made redundant due to duplication and some vacant positions will no longer be required. This impacts approximately 92 people. We have spoken to or will speak to those affected as soon as possible so that all employees have clarity and certainty before we commence operations as a combined business.
Where appropriate our aim is to immediately redeploy affected employees or if this is not possible they will have immediate access to outplacement services and support through the Nine and Fairfax Employee Assistance Programs.
By the end of the coming week, we will have completed most of the work needed in relation to “synergies”, including redundancies.
IT is one exception. The focus has been on critical day one needs and we are yet to decide the best path forward for duplicate systems such as ERP, HR, payroll, office productivity and content management. We will stay in touch with the relevant teams as we work through those decisions.
Thank you to everyone for your patience as we have worked through the process. We can now move forward with confidence as a stronger and more sustainable business with many new and exciting opportunities ahead. This is truly an amazing opportunity for our combined future.



Public support is vital so this website can continue to fund investigations and publish stories which speak truth to power. Please subscribe for the free newsletter, share stories on social media and, if you can afford it, tip in $5 a month.


Michael West

Michael West

Michael West established to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. Formerly a journalist and editor at Fairfax newspapers and a columnist at News Corp, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelWestBiz.


Case for Federal ICAC

Quad Erat Demonstrandum

Revolving Doors

Revolving Doors

Video Channel

The West Report

Support Us

subscribe to michael west media

[ Click to find out more ]

Michael West Email

Get Our Weekly Newsletter

Unsubscribe anytime.

Thank you! We'll also confirm via email.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This