The Fairfax journalists’ walk-out may be only a day old, but despite assurances that the thing will be over soon there is every chance that the thing may stretch on for weeks or even months, like a less-stinky, more middle-class version of a Neapolitan garbage strike.
Having spent a fair bit of time in newsrooms over the years, I know how these things can go. So here’s your official Prick With a Fork insight in to how the action is likely to play out at Fairfax HQ:
- By the close of business Thursday, social media aggregators such as Mashable.com will see their traffic go through the roof as their stories are no longer harvested as click-bait for white collar coffee breakers visiting the Herald and Age websites.
- By Friday lunchtime, Fairfax bosses will be in a panic trying to put together the Saturday paper. IT will be run off its feet explaining how to apply the cut-and-paste function not only to web pages but to PDF press releases from the caring classes.
- By Friday afternoon, news that cartoonist Michael Leunig has joined in a sympathy strike prompts plaintive wails: “Who’ll draw the ducks!?” A search of available precocious children first suggests Peter FitzSimons’ socially-aware son, but after he refuses to cross the picket line a scab four-year-old is found. The quality of art above the letters page improves noticeably .
- Saturday brings respite: Although needing to plug the hole left by FitzSimons’ Sunday column, there is no shortage of bald, thin-skinned, private school boys in the executive suite.
Should the dispute last into next week, the greatest dilemma will be which inner-city hipster dive to award 14 points out of 20 to in the absence of Terry Durack’s column.
However, it will be far more entertaining to watch the heads explode all over town should Fairfax’s largest shareholder Gina Rinehart offers to meet the strikers’ demands in exchange for a few seats on the board.