Witnessing a Historic Day in Australia Media Industry - Nine and Fairfax merger

I rarely write about my employer, but yesterday was a historic day in Australia media industry and I got to witness it firsthand.

In case it wasn’t clear, I work for Fairfax Media, the biggest publishing company in Australia, a truly iconic Australian company that has been around for 177 years. Yesterday, the news broke that Nine to merge with Fairfax.

I first heard the news from my colleague first thing when I arrived at my desk. By this time, the news was probably 2 hours old, yes, I was late to the party because I don’t read much news and yes it is ironic given that I work for a news company (I have my reasons).

When I heard the news, my first reaction was of indifference. Having been with Fairfax Media for 2 years, being restructured and shuffled around is just part of the job. Nothing would really surprise me at this point. I carried on my with my day, business as usual. For sure there’s a lot of buzz in our department (Product and Technology), heaps of Slack conversations, a couple of amusing (read: trolling) initiatives such as a pull request that puts Nine logo on our website, the devops team replacing their dashboards with Nine websites.

On more serious note, my manager told us to come and hear our CEO - Greg Hywood, addressing the company in the afternoon. Again I was reluctant to go, as I was deep in code, trying to work out this Golang channel issue. But I ended up going anyway with the rest of the department and I glad that I did.

Greg first address to the company was level 4 ODI (One Darling Island building), this floor is mainly occuppied by Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review journalists. It was an emotionally charged half an hour session as expected.

I was personally touched by the passion and the committment from the Fairfax journalists on independent journalism. The most heated questions by the journalists was on that particular topic and that shows how much they care about the cause.

Here’s an article on AFR that contains more details on the merger as well as on the employee address by Greg Hywood.

It saddens me too that the name Fairfax will be no more after this merger - the new entity will be simply called Nine. The name Fairfax - that has been a household Australian name synamous to independent journalism. One can only hope, even with the name gone - the spirit lives on.