Oops! News slips out salary and redundancy detail

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While sometimes appearing to relish reporting staff cuts at rival Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia tends to be tight-lipped about changes in its own workforce.

So imagine the embarrassment when an email list of senior salaries and their redundancy entitlements was first "accidentally issued" to 157 staff, and then leaked to rival the Sydney Morning Herald.

Figures for three named staff who had left, or were leaving the company, were accompanied by details of a fourth "respected member" of the News Corp Australia team. The publisher apologised for the error, with chief transformation officer Derrick Crowley announcing an investigation into who perpetrated the leak, an "unacceptable breach of their employment contract".

Redundancy payments listed totalled about $637,000 and the salary of one journalist - paid more than $300,000 a year - was also quoted.

News Corp Australia has made a number of its staff redundant in recent months, with some of these voluntary and some forced. State marketing teams were cut at the same time as a group restructuring which accompanied the appointment of Charlie Murdoch as head of trade marketing. Murdoch moved from marketing director at NewsMediaWorks, which shares office space at News' Holt Street headquarters.

About 30 editorial jobs were being cut at News' daily national broadsheet and metro tabloids, and some production staff left to join Pagemasters, a subsidiary of AAP, which is itself 45 per cent owned by News, along with Fairfax (now part of Nine) and Seven West Media.

Just before Christmas last year, News announced that it was shutting the coldset web facility in Warwick, Queensland - which APN News & Media had opened only two years before - only to reopen it three months ago when a capacity-sharing deal with Fairfax and the closure of Horton Media in Narangba increased demand. The Warwick press team had been the first casualty of reorganisation following News Corp Australia's acquisition of the former APN Australian Regional Media operation.

All part of what a spokesperson described as an "ongoing focus on how we can identify opportunities to make our operations more efficient".

Just keep it to yourself, right.

Peter Coleman

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