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Fairfax Media Subbing Proposal to Proceed

MEDIA STATEMENT
July 25, 2008

Fairfax Media Subbing Proposal to Proceed

Fairfax Media announced today it was proceeding with the establishment of a hub to produce world and business pages for all nine of its daily newspapers throughout the country.

The hub will also produce the feature pages for the two largest newspapers in Fairfax, the Dominion Post, Wellington, and The Press, Christchurch as well as the Timaru Herald. It is envisaged some 32 full-time staff will work for the hub with most based in those cities.

The sub-editing and page production of all other pages will be retained at individual mastheads. Including the Dominion Post and The Press, they are: the Waikato Times, Hamilton, the Taranaki Daily News, New Plymouth, the Manawatu Standard, Palmerston North, the Nelson Mail, the Marlborough Express, Blenheim, the Timaru Herald, and The Southland Times, Invercargill.

The decision means there will be redundancies at some sites and individual newspapers have advised of likely numbers. The company envisages total sub-editing staff strength in both the hub and mastheads will total about 150 full time employees.

"We have carefully considered submissions from staff and divisions about the hubbing proposal announced to staff on June 30," said Group Executive Editor Paul Thompson.

"More than 20 submissions were received and the interest and engagement from staff has been pleasing.

"The submissions give us confidence to proceed with a major part of the proposal, including the hubbing of world and business pages and some feature pages," he said.

"However, the submissions raised some issues that have caused us to reconsider, and we have amended the proposal to reflect that."

The hub will be led by a Managing Editor Production reporting to Mr Thompson, along with delegated leaders within the specialities. The position has been advertised and interviews will be held shortly.

"We are pleased with the calibre of applicants," Mr Thompson said.

"This position is key to finding the increasing efficiencies we need in a fast-changing world."

All other page production will remain at individual sites, and a programme to establish the highest possible sub-editing and production standards will be implemented to improve productivity and consistency across the group.

The company will now work with staff directly affected, and has called for expressions of interest for either hub or masthead roles, or a combination of both.

It is envisaged analysis of staff wishes will take about 10 days, and it is planned that the hub will be established by October.

ENDS

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