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Breaking: AJN Slashes Jobs

August 10, 2015 – 8:10 pm8 Comments

breaking news2By Bracha Rafael:

The Australian Jewish News laid off up to seven members of its staff today from a range of departments, including journalistic, advertising and production.

Galus Australis has been informed that the AJN advised one of the departing journalists that any ongoing position at the paper would be contingent on the journalists’ crowdfunding their own salary.

One departing member of staff, who did not wish to be named, said of the cuts, “That’s where the industry is going.”

The AJN is certainly not alone as a traditional media publication struggling to meet costs in the digital age.

Galus will be updating this story as more details come to light.

Update: Rod Kenning, General Manager at the AJN, contacted Galus today in order to set the record straight on several of the details reported last night.

Five, not seven, permanent staff members were made redundant. One fixed-term contract was also cancelled.

According to Kenning, reports of staff being advised to crowd-source their own salaries were “inaccurate and a little bemusing.”

Kenning stressed that “the future of the AJN is not in doubt,” a sentiment AJN National Editor Zeddy Lawrence echoed.

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  • Ron Burdo says:

    AJN is boring, it reminds me of a high school newspaper in the 1980s: Lots of reports of “look what a great community we are”, and not much debate, discussion or anything which contradicts a facade of a unified, happy community.
    Why should anyone buy it?

  • BARRY MOND says:

    This does not surprise me.

    I have 4 children aged between 41 and 31, and none of them buy the AJN, nor do they bother reading it when they come to my place for Shabbat Dinner, where it is easily accessible.

    And that is the AJN’s problem.

    My generation still buy it, my mothers generation still buy it, however the younger generation not only don’t buy it, but can’t be bothered reading it.

    Whether I think the paper is still relevant today or not, or I agree with it’s political views and the views, from time to time of its Editor, as distinct from its Publisher, on Israel, I would find it a real shame if this Community of Melbourne did not support a weekly Jewish Newspaper.

    Unfortunately, it is quite possible based on what you are reporting, and the number of unsold copies that I see growing even larger on a weekly basis at my local shop where I buy the paper, many more sackings will occur at AJN and those that have been sacked, and most likely will be sacked in the future, have my deepest sympathy for their plight.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Ron – I think the reason we should buy it is because it is the community newspaper.

    I grant you that it has many shortcomings – the journalism is often not of the highest standard; it holds itself to be a community newspaper but presents (IMHO) a too narrow range of views (or rather a disproportionate weighting of the views within the community); it has treated some of its staff disgracefully in the past; it seems nervous about doing anything that might alienate the dominant communal organisations (which is understandable as a commercial enterprise that needs to survive but is not in keeping with a paper which holds itself out to be an all-inclusive communal institution).

    However it has many strengths as well. The current management and editorial team strongly support communal initiatives; they are open to challenging at least some institutions and “received truths” in the community; they do break significant stories; they genuinely care about the future of the community and want to ensure its strengthening.

    The execution may be flawed but there is an important role for one or more newspapers in the community. Websites and blogs serve a purpose but can’t fill that space completely.

    Most importantly, the AJN is the only regular place where Australian Jews learn there are Jews not like them. The community will be much the poorer if it doesn’t exist.

  • Ron Burdo says:

    Hi Doodie,

    People, especially the younger generations, have many way to connect and communicate with the Jewish community other than buying and reading a weekly newspaper, which fails to represent them and discuss the issues that bother them as Jews.

    For example, how many pages were dedicated to discuss the achievements of the Jewish day schools – and how many to discuss the Jewish education crisis?

    For reading scmaltz and sugar news I do not have to buy the AJN, I can pick up the Melbourne Jewish Report for free. At least the MJR does not pretend to be more than that.

  • The more Jewish voices the better.

    But for daily news, try J-wire…www,wire.com.au

  • Eli says:

    Agree with Barry M.
    In this digital age sentiment and nostalgia are no longer viable reasons to support a print medium.The AJN’s failings only compound its irrelevance to generations who no longer seek their news in this format. If the AJN wants to stay relevant it must continue to improve its online presence and engagement via social media.
    All the positives that Dodie mentioned are still possible only the format changes.
    The world is a changing place and the loss of a paper medium for delivering community news is as archaic as building factories to create jobs.
    At best AJN should look at a quarterly mag that provides some in-depth reviews and commentaries from the myriad of scholarly and interesting members in our community.
    Time to say Kaddish for the AJN.

  • letters in the age says:

    As my gen y Heeb friends tell me

    My grandma is the one who only reads it Letters!

    Social networking …do it or die into onlivion

    Newspapers are in decline everywhere so it doesn’t surprise me.

  • Herald boy says:

    I have made an unscientific survey amongst some of our main charedi shuls.
    Adass by far the largest has 3-4families why buy theAJN
    On the other hand around 80% buy the Hamodia despite its $6 cover price (for those who haven’t read it – its Israeli news section and world Jewish news beats the AJN by a mile.)
    The situation is more or less the same at Heichal Hatorah, Ger and Beth Hatalmud . I am unsure about Yeshiva and the other Chabad places

    Another snippet ,the 2 main Yiddish weeklies in NY, Di Blatt and Der Yid have Australian editions and available locally every Thursday evening

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