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Australia's journalism is in mortal danger - politicians should join the fight to save it

Gay Alcorn argues in The Guardian (4.5.17) that press redundancies at Fairfax, hot on the heels of cuts at News Corp, are not just devastating for the journalists affected - they will hurt the communities they serve, too, so should be of concern to our elected officials.

'Here we go again. Another round of huge job cuts at Australia’s traditional media, this time at Fairfax, although News Corp is doing much the same. Journalists on strike at the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald say that removing a quarter of the editorial staff, or 125 full-time-equivalent jobs, will be devastating.

'Not just devastating for the people who lose their jobs, but for the capacity of the media to report news their communities need. Hashtags like #fairgofairfax and #savetheage pop up – again. The media union thunders – again – about companies cutting journalism to the bone and beyond, while in the same breath insisting that “quality journalism” is their business.

'What I fear most is that these big job cuts have become so routine that the crisis enveloping Australian journalism will be greeted with a sad shrug by many, and even a little glee by a few. If we’re not at a tipping point now, when we really do need to talk seriously about public interest journalism as a vital cog in a functioning democracy, then we never will be. We’re like the frog in water that has been heating up for many years, and the water is boiling now.'

 

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