Fairfax Media rolls out new newsroom model

"We're investing in our people and systems to reinvigorate our newsrooms, strengthening our ability to deliver news and information," Sinead Boucher says.

Fairfax Media New Zealand is rolling out a new model for its newsrooms nationwide and regional newspaper editors are disappearing in favour of regional editorial managers based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Fairfax Media says it will have larger teams working on video, social media and the Stuff Nation website, which asks readers to contribute stories.

"We're investing in our people and systems to reinvigorate our newsrooms, strengthening our ability to deliver news and information," Sinead Boucher, Fairfax Media's executive editor, said in a statement.

Journalists will package their stories with video, images and links to encourage interaction with readers in an editorial and production process that will be driven first by the needs of digital platforms rather than traditional printed products.

Seven jobs are being disestablished and 12 new senior roles are being created, focusing on audiences in local regions or in specialist content areas.

The changes, trialled in Southland, are being rolled out nationwide in coming months.

The restructuring involves a reshuffle of senior managers, according to industry sources. The role of newspaper editor has been slowly disappearing and three editorial managers work below Ms Boucher, one for the Auckland region, one for Wellington and one for Christchurch. These direct reports to Ms Boucher are former newspaper editors who now have a wider regional role.

The roles disappearing are expected to be editors in smaller regional centres.

Under the newsroom changes journalists will edit each other's stories.

In February Fairfax's Australian parent, Fairfax Media, reported little-changed first-half earnings of $A86 million, excluding the impact of $A56.6 million of redundancy and impairment costs that arose from the struggling transtasman publisher's efforts to reinvigorate its future.

The Sydney-based, ASX-listed firm said its New Zealand print and online operations had outperformed a weak local advertising environment, with advertising revenue down by 6.2% in local currency terms on the previous period.

Ebitda for the New Zealand operations fell 18.8% because of one-off printing transition expenses.

Fairfax Media has two national, nine daily and more than 60 community newspapers, 25 plus magazines, and publishes the websites Stuff and Essential Mums.

(Businessdesk)

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