News Corp Australia has laid out plans to axe 16 photography department jobs before Christmas, primarily staff photographers from Queensland’s Courier Mail.
The Guardian reports the Courier Mail‘s staff photographers ‘were summoned to a meeting… and told they were offering redundancies’. The photo department job cuts coincide with other editorial job losses, and follow on from the closure of 100 local area print mastheads. In June News Corp let go of its last Canberra-based press gallery staff photographer, multiple Walkley-Award winning photographer Gary Ramage. As a bit of a slap in the face, Ramage was then invited back to contribute on a freelance-basis for the publisher’s new news wire service, NCA NewsWire.
News Corp will outsource all photography in Queensland to third-party freelance photographers from next year, and according to The Guardian, this will become a nationwide strategy.
‘We’re making a limited number of our staff redundant as we move to a new way of working similar to many news organisations internationally,’ a News Corp spokesman.
‘It reflects the successful model we’ve established for our news and sport networks, which are generating strong subscriber growth and brilliant, specialist journalism, and will complement the soon-to-launch Australian business network to deliver the best in finance reporting.’
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has highlighted how the sheer number of redundancy rounds has created a ‘climate of uncertainty and fear for the staff who remain’, as well as piling ‘on the pressure as they try to cope with the inevitable increased workload’.
Inside Imaging reported in August how the media, particularly News Corp, is habitually sourcing free ‘propaganda’ photos from Adam Taylor, the Prime Minister’s official photographer. (Interestingly – to us, anyway – that story was picked up and run by The Guardian without attribution. Aren’t they supposed to be the good guys?)