It was a small group that protested today at the Age building and it was hard to tell the strikers from the media covering the story. A lot of the crowd were hanging around waiting to see what was going to be said.
The MEAA had gotten organised in a hurry sending texts out at 2:14 for the rally at 2:30 so people were still wandering in at 3. Catherine Deveny spoke to the tangle of cameras and microphones saying that she wouldn't file copy - much like Mike Carlton who earlier today was sacked for refusing to write his regular column. The decision of the strikers was to stay out until Monday, which means the most profitable papers (Saturday and Sunday) will be limited. Even as I write this I'm getting emails urging me to boycott buying the paper in the morning.
Another striker in the crowd reflected bitterly how the Fairfax share price had increased immediately after the sacking announcement. The price fell again later leaving the striker to wonder if the cuts had done anything at all.
Some of the finger-pointing is at online media for swiping Fairfax's market share. If audiences are getting news from the web for free then isn't that going to make it tough for any newspaper to turn a profit? But the business decision of cutting won't save newspapers. Adapting to a new media will, offering better ways to serve content might and finding funding models beyond advertising can. And withdrawing sponsorship of a Walkley for excellence in journalism really doesn't bode well for Fairfax' interest in content.