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Free Content The shrinking of Fairfax Media’s books pages: A microstudy of digital disruption

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This microstudy of digital disruption in newspapers analyses the book review sections of Fairfax Media’s metropolitan dailies, The Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne The Age and The Canberra Times, and how they changed between 2013 and 2017, before the newspaper company merged with Nine Entertainment. Through content analysis and interviews, the study documents how the diversity and variety of the books coverage declined steeply after Fairfax management imposed cost-cutting and review sharing on legacy sections. It also documents the demoralizing experience of journalists working in these sections: decreased resources, increased workloads and no time to innovate. The study elucidates how Fairfax management left its papers’ long-standing, hard-won reputations for cultural authority and literary impact to wither on the vine while it pursued a survival strategy of digital diversification.
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Keywords: Fairfax Media; Nine Entertainment; book reviewing; digital disruption; disruption innovation theory; newspaper journalism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Australian Journalism Review publishes articles on a broad range of perspectives relating to journalism research, practice and education. Its emphasis is on original theoretical, empirical and applied research, but it also provides opportunities to canvass perspectives on current debates on research, practice and education through commentary pieces on specific topics.

    This double-blind peer-reviewed journal is published twice annually, with the second edition each year focused primarily on a theme and supplemented by a small selection of broader-ranging papers.

    Prospective guest editor submissions on themes for future editions are always welcome. While many of Australian Journalism Review's submitting authors are based within the Australia-Pacific region, the journal welcomes scholarship from around the world and extending into broader media and communication topics of relevance to journalism.

    The journal incorporates a regular section highlighting the work of early career researchers, particularly current or recent higher degree by research students, as well as book reviews focusing on recent additions to the journalism, media and communications publishing landscape.

    AJR is the journal of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

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