Fairfax shifts more copy sub-editing to NZ

Last updated 21:14 23/01/2013

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Fairfax Media is relocating more copy sub-editing from Australia to Fairfax Editorial Services in New Zealand.

Thirteen positions are expected to be lost at Financial Review Group (FRG), which comprises The Australian Financial Review newspaper and its associated activities, in this latest move.

The shift of copy sub-editing to New Zealand is part of a continuing restructuring process at Fairfax.

Last May, Fairfax announced that it would move sub-editing work from regional Australian newspapers - the Newcastle Herald, the Illawarra Mercury and associated community titles - to New Zealand, affecting 66 local jobs.

In June 2012, Fairfax said 1900 jobs would be axed over three years.

Some sub-editing at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald, The Age and The Sunday Age were moved to Pagemasters, a subsidiary of Australian Associated Press.

Fairfax said staff at FRG were being briefed on the latest changes.

"FRG anticipates that approximately 13 FTE (full-time equivalent) positions would no longer be required," Fairfax said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Under the proposal, staff would be retained in Sydney for web production, design and layout and page output."

Fairfax said the proposed copy sub-editing arrangements would help streamline the business and deliver significant cost efficiencies.

But journalists union The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance says the proposal to send the sub-editing offshore is foolish and short-sighted.

"We expect the company to negotiate in good faith, meaning they should supply us with further detail on the review that was undertaken and the figures underlying the proposal," Alliance federal secretary Christopher Warren said in a statement.

"We will be working with our members to put the case for production to stay in-house. It has always been our view that sub-editing is at the very heart of a newsroom. It is not an optional function that can be outsourced on a whim."

Fairfax Editorial Services produces 11 daily newspapers, 75 community papers and three national weekly papers for Fairfax Media businesses in New Zealand and Australia, and provides copy subbing for digital platforms and 12 websites, including Stuff.co.nz.

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