The progression from print to digital.

At first, I didn’t want to blog about this most recent progression from traditional broadcast media into the new 21st century contemporary forms as displayed by one of Australia’s biggest media industries, but the more I think about it, the more I had to say about Fairfax’s choice.

The media giant responsible for two of Australia’s most prominent broadsheet newspapers, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, have announced today that they would slash 1,900 jobs over the next three years as they adapt to the increasingly digitised media industry. Having already written two 3k essays for my ARTS1090 class, I’m getting a little sick of talking about this transformation from print to digital, but with Fairfax’s recent announcement just this morning, I had a lot to think about, and to list down.

First of all, I don’t know why people are surprised. Every news station that has done a story on this today have seemed frenzied and shocked about Fairfax’s decision. Honestly, I thought it was quite imminent – I mean come on, I have just studied a whole course at university this semester on the expansion of contemporary media platforms and its supposed threat on traditional media…how can Fairfax’s decision be that surprising? Especially for people working in the media industry.

“Fairfax journalists have reacted with astonishment and the unions have demanded talks with management.”

That was a quote from ABC New’s online article on the topic, who have done extensive research through interviews with Fairfax’s employees, readers and the journalism union, The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA). I want to highlight the fact that these journalists actually reacted with astonishment. Seriously? These people are are meant to go out, research and stay ahead of the happenings within their country in order to develop informative news stories for their readers. The fact that they were astonished by the fact that Fairfax had finally jumped onto the digital bandwagon in order to boost the financial wellbeing of the company, is not very reassuring to their authenticity as a journalist. How can they be surprised about this announcement when teenagers are already learning about the recession of traditional media forms in their first semester of university?

However, this post is not being written to debate the reactions of the media and whether they should have known that this was eventually going to happen or not. I wanted to make a list of the pros and cons of Fairfax’s decision to the general public instead, so here it is:

PRO ET CONTRA

Pros

  • Digitisation of the news means less paper wastage, less printing, less damage to the environment.
  • Readers had often opted for news off the Internet because it’s updated and released much faster than traditional physical formats, which only come out once a day.
  • All neatly stored in one place, with a search button for easy access.
  • The SMH and The Age are being shrunk into a tabloid-size. They’re not completely culling the papers. Besides, tabloid-sized papers are so much easier to hold.
  • Wider access of the news, giving people more opportunities to stay updated while on the go.

Cons

  • 1,900 jobs cut. This does not only concern journalists, but the employees working in the printing industries as well.
  • Some older readers of the broadsheets find it difficult to navigate digital media and do not like change.
  • Not everyone can afford an iPad or some similar (and expensive) media platform to download their digital copy of the paper onto.
  • Reading off a screen hurts the eyes.

This is just a brief list of pros and cons that I can come up with at this point in time. To be honest (and as you can probably already tell), I have no problem with Fairfax’s move. I had always believed it was imminent, and I know a lot of people that get their news off the SMH and The Age websites rather than from the actual paper, so it was all just a matter or time.

Any suggestions or opinions on the matter?

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