Fairfax shuffles staff in digital revamp

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Fairfax Media New Zealand aims to introduce a world-class approach to digital storytelling with a raft of editorial changes designed to bring renewed focus on local journalism. Seven jobs will be disestablished, and 12 new “senior opportunities” created.

Over the coming months, a series of changes and proposed changes aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print will be rolled out across Fairfax’s newsrooms nationally.

Newsrooms will work with new digital-centric editorial and production practices to deliver quality content to audiences, when and how they want it.

Fairfax Media executive editor Sinead Boucher says the changes represent a new way forward for the company’s trusted journalism and titles, and centre on introducing and developing modern newsroom practices, editorial product innovation and audience needs – from local communities to the national stage.

The changes being proposed would result in several new senior editorial roles, focussed on audiences across local regions or in specialist content areas. Under a proposal announced to staff today, seven jobs would be disestablished and 12 new senior opportunities created.

The digital-centric newsroom approach is being driven by the growing audience demands for Fairfax’s local and national content on digital platforms. Stuff.co.nz, for example, recorded its highest audience ever last month, with a monthly unique audience of 1.71 million (up 16.5% from February 2014).

As part of the drive towards a digital-centric newsroom approach, Fairfax is also investing in building larger teams around video, social media, Stuff Nation and newsroom developers.

“We’re investing in our people and systems to reinvigorate our newsrooms, strengthening our ability to deliver news and information to our audiences well into the future,” Boucher said. “These new practices are at the forefront of contemporary journalism.”

Fairfax’s Southland newsroom has been piloting the new newsroom model since last year with enthusiastic feedback from journalists and readers. “We’re giving our journalists the right modern tools to tell stories, and get those stories to our audiences faster,” Boucher said.

“They have greater control over their content and package their stories with video, images and links to encourage interaction with readers. It’s about putting our audiences at the centre of everything we do.

“The new technology and ways of working in our newsrooms means we’ll be able to draw more readily on the great content we produce from across New Zealand, and develop some really world-class innovative storytelling.  Our array of quality local and national news is unmatched – and we’re going to take greater advantage of it.”

Ongoing training and support will equip Fairfax journalists with the skills to deliver in the digital environment.

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