They sacked Mike Carlton on Friday from his regular weekend column gig with the SMH because he refused to submit a column for publication while the journalists and editorial staff were on strike (in response to the announcement that 5% of the workforce were being made redundant).
No doubt Fairfax were entirely within their legal rights to do so (I’m sure that his contract specifies that his column should be submitted come hell or high water) but they could easily have dealt with this in a manner which acknowledges that there is a valid principle at stake in his decision to not cross the picket line (unlike our NSW State Premier Morris Iemma, who did write a column for the SMH over the weekend). Why not penalise him by simply not paying him his fee for the week etc (not like the man is starving, is it?). It all has a touch of the pour encourager les autres about it, non?
Big Swing with the Clue Bat here, you bean-counters at Fairfax: the reason that the corporatised media arms are losing eyeballs to other sources of information, as information and opinion is made more widely available from many different sources, is the perception that you can’t be trusted. The more corporatised a news organisation becomes the fewer ethical principles it observes in its news coverage, and thus it is judged less reliable in respect of providing accurate and objective information. Sacking people for taking principled stands only makes the corporation look more unprincipled and thus unreliable, therefore losing more eyeballs.
What a sad dwindling saga of a once fine publication.