News Corp guts photography departments amid job cuts

Executive Chairman of News Corp Michael Miller in the Emirates Marquee on Derby Day. Photo by Jesse Marlow. . Photo: Jesse MarlowNews Corp will sack significant numbers of photographers in each capital city, in the first news to emerge from what is expected to be major lay-offs in the nation’s biggest newspaper company.


Up to 40 photography jobs are at risk in Melbourne alone, with some people hired back as freelancers, according to sources. In Adelaide, a department of 24 photographers is expected to be reduced to just eight.

However, a News Corp spokeswoman denied cuts would be this deep.

She confirmed it will be changing its photographic model from a “100 per cent in-house model to a hybrid model where we retain a core team of specialist photographers combined with freelance and agency talent”.

“These changes are part of the ongoing process of reorganising our operations to respond to market conditions and the changing demands for how we produce and publish our content.

“This is not about removing a certain number of roles – it is about putting a new structure in place and that organisation and staffing of that new structure will be put in place by each newsroom as they see fit.”

“There will be redundancies as a result of these changes,” she added.

Further editorial cuts are believed to be aimed at the newsrooms of Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Brisbane’s Courier Mail, and the Adelaide Advertiser.

The Australian is reporting that print edition production teams will be targeted.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) condemned the cuts to front-line editorial staff.

MEAA’s media section director Katelin McInerney said: “These are mastheads that pride themselves on being newspapers of the people and a voice for the communities they serve – these cuts serve no one.”

“Cutting the very staff who tell the stories of our society’s marginalised and vulnerable – particularly those photojournalists who create the images we, as audiences, rely on to cut to the heart of an issue in a powerful, compelling and instantaneous way – has proved an ultimately futile stop-gap measure for news companies.”

The Herald Sun is the nation’s most read printed newspaper, with an average daily audience of 1.2 million. The Daily Telegraph averages one million readers every weekday. However, when combined with online numbers these papers have a smaller monthly audience than Fairfax Media’s Sydney Morning Herald, according to the latest data from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia [EMMA].

In November 2016 News announced plans to cut $40 million in costs, but did not specify how many jobs would go. It currently employs about 2015 people across its metropolitan, regional and suburban papers.

Ms McInerney said 10 roles at News Corp’s Gold Coast Bulletin were made redundant recently.

“It is fair to say that the Gold Coast Bulletin incident last week was incredibly disappointing and we asked the company at that juncture what to expect,” Ms McInerney said on Thursday.

“But they were not moving to confirm anything at that stage and were holding their cards close to their chest.”

She added that it makes no sense for media companies to target journalists in job cuts because “those are the people who produce that news and content”.

“It is not a sustainable and sensible model as more and more readers and audiences are turning to traditional outlets…in their daily news and information.”

Meanwhile, Fairfax Media, publisher of this website, recently also announced plans to cut $30 million in costs from its Metropolitan Media division, but would not specify how many jobs were likely to go. This division publishes The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age, papers that have already been through significant staff reductions in recent years.

Fairfax already uses a hybrid photography model incorporating photographers from Getty Images.