Thursday, July 21, 2011

Publishing Pitfalls #1

Two months ago we wrote of the doom and gloom at the venerable Fairfax Media publishing house who produce two of the world's oldest and most respected newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age.

As revealed Fairfax plan to cut up to 200 staff including journalists and sub-editors at the same time they are reaping in tens of millions of dollars in annual profits. Fairfax want to out source sub editing to Pagemasters part of AAP who are in turn 45% owned by News Corp currently the subject of a police and parliamentary investigation in the UK over hacking and whose boss Rupert Murdoch was attacked by a cream pie wielding comedian yesterday.

One complaint over the Fairfax cuts that will further concentrate media power into fewer hands is that standards are likely to fall. Particularly at an organisation like Fairfax which has maintained a long history of high standards not only in reporting news but in presentation.

Fairfax managers should heed our warnings. Just a few days ago we pointed out how the web-site of the Daily Telegraph carries the odd story of how Lady GaGa appeared at the Sydney Opera House although it was in fact the Sydney Town Hall where she wowed 1000 invited guests. The clanger still remains.

There was a reason Lady GaGa chose the Town Hall-it boasts the world's biggest and most magnificent organ which GaGa pounded away on to great effect during her concert.

Is the curse of the absent sub-editor spreading ?. This series of posts in one of favourite newspaper websites London Evening Standard owned by the Russian entrepreneur Alexander Lebedev  caught our eye this morning :