Fairfax fails to strike board deal with Rinehart

Fairfax Media has told billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart that it is unable to extend an invitation for her to join its board.

In a statement, chairman Roger Corbett said it was unable to reach agreement with Ms Rinehart over board positions at the media company.

He said he regretted an agreement could not be made but hoped it might be possible in the future.

Ms Rinehart has mounted a high-profile campaign to win seats on the Fairfax board after a large acquisition of shares earlier this month left her with 18.7 per cent of the company.

Her refusal to sign the company's charter of independence has raised concerns she would interfere with the editorial independence of Fairfax's flagship newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Mr Corbett said Fairfax had received tens of thousands of emails and other correspondence from shareholders and readers making it clear they supported the company's position on editorial independence.

Ms Rinehart is Fairfax's biggest single shareholder.

CCZ media analyst Roger Colman says Ms Rinehart should now ask for a special meeting of investors and let them decide.

"Go to the shareholders," he said.

"This dispute can be settled in a simple, numerate count of shareholders' votes." Fairfax shares rose 1 per cent at the close of trade yesterday to nearly 60 cents.

Ms Rinehart's company, Hancock Prospecting, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Restructure Last week, Fairfax announced that 1,900 jobs would go over three years as it restructures to survive in a digital world.

After the restructure was flagged, three top editors at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age quit.

Newcastle Herald editor Roger Brock has today followed suit, after 35 years in the industry.

He will be replaced by his deputy Chad Watson.

On Wednesday, Fairfax .

The company will move to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week newsrooms at its flagship newspapers, filing for online and mobile platforms as well as print editions.

Garry Linnell, editorial director at Fairfax Metro Media, says the plans will help the news organisation compete.

"We are going to have a group of first responders, they are called newsbreakers," he said.

"Every newsroom has them.

We have them now.

We are always going to have them in the future.

"We are going to have teams of reporters working across topics.

"We're not primarily changing the way and manner in which our journalists work, we are just ensuring we are smarter and more efficient at what we do."

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