Fairfax has been trimming its sails for a couple of years now, getting rid of lots of journalists mainly in Australia but also here, consolidating its operations and cutting its budgets back further and further. It's all part of the changing face of the media, the incursions of the internet into the territory of the newspapers, falling sales and advertising revenue, the recession, money, money, money. No-one really knows how it's going to end, whether newspapers will survive in anything like their current form; but it's definite that everyone is now feeling the pinch, even me out here on the periphery.
It's hard for us freelances, to be losing now one of our main markets for overseas stories; but it's also bad for the paper. Sure the editor can pick and choose from huge files of syndicated stories by excellent writers who've been everywhere - but they're all foreigners, and what's missing will be the local connection, the specifically Kiwi slant on a place or an event that makes a story that much more interesting for readers here, more relevant, more intriguing. It's not being parochial, it's a short cut to being connected to a destination, and that's something I think is important (see above, right). It's not a big thing, granted, but it's just another dilution of the richness we have enjoyed. So that's mainly why I'm sad about the Fairfax decision: it's not just my loss, it's everybody's.