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High-profile Advertiser jobs go as News Corp wields axe

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Senior and veteran journalists are expected to be among 10 jobs being axed today at Adelaide’s News Corp daily The Advertiser, amid a nationwide cull of 55 media roles.

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It’s understood at least two reporters have already put their hands up for redundancy in the Adelaide newsroom, with other staff to be informed of their fates by close of business today.

Sources say the sports department is in for a major shakeup.

InDaily understands former Crows captain Chris McDermott’s regular football column will be discontinued. When contacted for confirmation, the high-profile commentator said he would “prefer not to comment at this stage”.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance SA secretary Angelique Ivanica said SA appeared to be disproportionately affected by the nationwide cost-cutting, which will see 55 editorial positions axed from News Corp mastheads around the country.

Sydney newsrooms, however, seem largely shielded from the impact, with almost a third of the cuts affecting Victorian publications, including the Herald Sun.

The Advertiser has already endured several rounds of cuts, with photographers and subeditors shown the door in recent overhauls.

“I’m devastated over this one,” Ivanica told InDaily.

“After everything the staff here have gone through in the last four years especially, I’m really upset about it… Over and over again we’re the ones facing the cuts in a major way.”

She said she believed the current business model in Adelaide, which favoured senior, experienced reporters, “doesn’t fit the company’s strategy” going forward.

Ivanica believes the current round of cuts will take the newsroom down to around 130 editorial staff, down from at least 250 only four years ago.

The national MEAA said News Corp was “targeting journalists that lack digital skills”, arguing “News Corp has failed to adequately train its workforce to meet the challenges of the digital transformation that has affected all media outlets”.

Of the 55 positions identified, 15 are at Melbourne’s Herald Sun and Weekly Times newspapers. Another two jobs are set to go from News’ regional titles in Victoria.

Around the country, six jobs will go in Tasmania, six in Sydney, four in Brisbane, and seven across regional Queensland and Northern Territory papers.

In a rebuff that has rankled with staff, the cuts come just days after News Corp advertised for a new Social Media Editor for the Sydney newsroom of its flagship broadsheet, The Australian.

The MEAA’s director of media Katelin McInerney said: “The guys on the ground are once again gobsmacked.”

“At a time when they’re saying their subscriptions are up and readership is up … they are cutting coalface staff, people who are experienced, skilled journalists,” she said.

“These are already stretched newsrooms.”

In a statement, News Corp confirmed there would be “a number of redundancies”.

“We are making changes to our newsrooms to meet our ever-changing consumer information needs,” a spokesperson said.

“We will continue to invest in premium journalism as the key to driving subscriptions. We will see new people come into our newsrooms, people with different skills and talents.”

Today’s clearout also comes just a day after The Advertiser trumpeted its success in the latest EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia) survey, with an article celebrating “the best metropolitan print readership in Australia”.

“Monday to Saturday, The Advertiser was the best performing metropolitan newspaper, with readership to the end of March rising 1.2 per cent,” it said.

“The Advertiser and Sunday Mail in print and digital is read by more than seven in 10 South Australians each month, which continues to be the highest penetration of any print and digital news brand in Australia.”

It quoted News Corp SA general manager Ish Davies saying: “Such consistent performance and the recognised high degree of trust that The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and advertiser.com deliver provides advertisers with audience delivery they can bank on.”

Editor Matt Deighton attributed the results to “the hard work and dedication of the editorial team”.

-with AAP

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