Monday, 18 June 2012

Australian Broadsheets Switch to Tabloids in 'Momentous' Shake-up

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Two Australian broadsheets, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, will move to a tabloid format, slash staff, charge for online content and could potentially stop printing altogether in a "momentous" shake-up of Australian media.

The move came as Gina Rinehart, the world's wealthiest woman, positioned herself to gain control of the owner of the newspapers, Fairfax Media, which is the main Australian rival to Rupert Murdoch's newspaper stable.

Mrs Rinehart, the Perth-based iron ore magnate whose staunchly conservative political views stand in stark contrast to those of Fairfax's main newspapers, is the largest single shareholder and has reportedly asked for the right to hire and fire editors.

Fairfax on Monday announced it will cut 1900 jobs – more than a fifth of its workforce – over the next three years and close its two main printing presses in New South Wales and Victoria by 2014.

The Sydney Morning Herald, which began publishing in 1831, and The Age, which began in 1854, will shrink to "compact" size next March and erect pay-walls on their websites following a continuous decline in print readership since 2006.

"Readers' behaviours have changed and will not change back," said the company's chief executive, Greg Hywood. "The days of the huge printing plants, built for our legacy print classified business, are well and truly over." » | Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney | Monday, June 18, 2012

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: Rinehart steps up Fairfax board battle » | Kirsty Simpson | Monday, June 18, 2012