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Panpa Bulletin : Oct-Nov-December 2007
news Two new double-width Goss Uniliner presses have been ordered by Fairfax Media as part of a develop- ment strategy that also aims to extend colour availability to more publications by concentrating production at the group's larger print centres. The new presses will go to the former Rural Press plant at Ormiston in Queensland and a new greenfield site at Christchurch, New Zealand, where $NZ30 million will be spent on a state-of-the-art facility to produce the company's award- winning daily, The Press. Concentration of production at major printing hubs, made feasible by the recent merger of Rural Press with Fairfax, has resulted in the closure of three regional presses in Australia, two of which print local dailies. About 50 jobs have disappeared in the shutdown of the presses at Warrnambool in Victoria, and Nowra and Wagga Wagga in NSW. Warrnambool publishes The Standard, a six-day daily with an aver- age sale of 13,000 copies. Wagga Wagga publishes The Advertiser, which has av- erage six-day sales of more than 15,000 copies. Nowra's main publications are the tri-weekly South Coast Register (circ. 8500) and the Shoalhaven Nowra News (circ. 23,658). A Fairfax spokesman said the decision to close the three presses had been driven by increased customer demand for full-colour advertising, pagination growth and better capacity utilisation on more modern equip- ment capable of producing better quality at higher speeds. The work carried out on the three age- ing presses is being transferred to modern group centres, primarily the Canberra, Albury and Ballarat sites. Affected employees were offered jobs at Ballarat or other Fairfax plants. Those unable or unwilling to relocate are being paid redundancy. As well as coping with the change over to production on the MAN Roland press at Ballarat, which will provide unlimited col- our capacity, management of The Standard at Warrnambool is planning to quit the company's 135-year-old offices in Koroit Street early next year, despite "a strong sen- timental attachment to the old building." Future owners of the building will be required to retain its heritage-listed façade. Announcing the relocation plans, gen- eral manager Ian Pech said the growth of The Standard and expansion of its family of publications necessitated moving the 120 employees to more modern, space-efficient offices in the CBD. "With increasing staff numbers, The Standard needs a building that allows flex- ibility and a 21st-century working environ- ment," said Pech. The new single-storey offices would have a youthful, clean, unclut- tered feel that would make it easier for staff and various departments to work together. "Although the changes to The Standard come with a tinge of sadness, management is excited about the future for clients, read- ers and publishing staff. "Our aim is to make The Standard an even more relevant and vibrant part of everyday life for all those who live and work on the Great South Coast. Fairfax Media Victorian operations director Danny Trainor, who told staff of the decision to close the McMeekin Road print- ing site, assured them it was an "economic" decision and not a reflection on the 13 full- time or casual employees. Mr Trainor said the equipment, much of it more than 23 years old, was outdated and couldn't produce the quality demanded in the 21st century. "There has been a conscious effort to try to build the revenue in the site but simply the equipment is always a restriction in the amount of quality colour." Fairfax closes three sites in quest for quality By Jack Beverley 14 PANPA Bulletin October-November-December 2007 The Oz goes all the way with WSJ By Jack Beverley The business section of The Australian has been strengthened by the introduction of a branded page of material from the Wall Street Journal. The move is just one of a series of improvements made to New Limited's na- tional flagship, particularly to the business coverage, since it was relaunched earlier this year. The WSJ material replaces a regular daily full page of content run under a syndication agreement with London's Financial Times. Both The Australian and the Journal emphasised that the deal was independ- ent of Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of WSJ publisher Dow Jones. But it is generally regarded as an exam- ple of introducing WSJ content in other News titles. As well as the branded page, The Australian's deal allows it to run selected articles from the Dow Jones Newswires and the WSJ across the paper and its website, www.theaustralian.com.au. The editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, said the deal heralded a new era of business journalism for the paper. "This underlines commitment to world class journalism and once again leaves our rivals in the shade," he said. "The Australian and its website can now lay claim to being Australia's pre-eminent source of business coverage --- from the latest exclusives to in-depth analysis and comment." Dow Jones Consumer Media Group's vice-president of international operations William Casey said The Australian shared their aim of providing authoritative, insight- ful and invaluable business news. Fairfax resize rescheduled By Jack Beverley Plans to reduce the width of Fairfax Media's broadsheet newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne, have been delayed, partially because of the company's focus on its merger with Rural Press. "As a result, it is believed the shift to a new page size will not occur until the second half of next year, at the earliest," according to a report in The Age by business writer Jesse Hogan. Neither chief executive David Kirk, nor his deputy Brian McCarthy, would discuss the timing of the change. Narrowing the pages from 41cms to 34cms --- the size used by The New York Times until recently --- requires sig- nificant alterations to Fairfax's presses at Tullamarine in Melbourne and Chullora in Sydney.
August September 2007