11 Sep 2012

Waiting for the truck at 3am. Road crew story? No, media!

My newsagent is Carey from Wahroonga Village. He rolls up at 3am to meet the trucks from News Limited (Telegraph, Australian) and Fairfax (Herald and Australian Financial Review).

The papers are rolled and delivered by 5.30am. Not today. For the second time in recent weeks, one of the trucks was horribly late. Last time it was ‘mechanical issues’ but Carey says since the media firms announced massive cuts and closure of the Fairfax broadsheet printing plant (less than 10 years after it was built), the workers have lost the deadline vibe.

Imagine if all backstage crew everywhere suddenly reacted to the lousy, terrible deal which is the Live Performance Award 2010? Suddenly we had a collective revolt at $23 an hour and weird waiver of penalties in exchange for a pitiful 17% loading ‘on tour’? So we all just worked to rule, and the curtain didn’t go up at 8pm, instead it went up when we were good and ready.


It’s 7.41 and your humble scribe has missed the morning print media dissection which by necessity happens before he wakes the lovely Karen at 6.45am with her coffee. Thereafter the mayhem of family life, dogs, kids and chaos tends to interfere with my media ingestion.

Spare a thought for those newsagents, whose sole profit centre is selling dreaded scratch lotto tickets. They also face some dumb decisions forced on them by the panicked suits – here’s a good one: Carey told me last year the Sydney Herald marketing guy (since departed, I wonder why) decided the TV Guide would be shared with the Sunday paper. Readers could ‘choose’ which day they wanted the one Guide – so the group would not publish two differently branded Guides. Great! Less writers, less payout, less printing!

Carey along with the other 1,000 newsagents in NSW, had to ‘ask’ their home delivery customers which day would they like their Guide – and then insert the thing on the appropriate day. They wanted to insert it into the dark end of the marketing suit, but Fairfax removed him instead and normal Guide publication followed a massive redesign of the Sunday Sun Herald.


That redesign resulted in the largest single reported decline in newspaper circulation – down 18%.

Kids – stay in showbiz!

I’ll stay here in media – and thanks to you, CX Network is one of the few trade media publishing houses that is actually adding pages, growing, and engaging more crew to bring you the news.


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