Broadsheet or tabloid: readers to have their say

Staff at the Canberra Times will soon be able to apply for voluntary redundancies and new positions as part of an overhaul of its operations.

Fairfax Media's editorial director Gary Linnell has spoken to staff about plans for a new 'digital first' newsroom that will run from 6am to midnight.

It is part of Fairfax Media's massive restructure that includes axing 1,900 jobs over three years across its operations.

The Canberra Times literary editor and union representative Gia Metherall was at today's meeting and says staff are realistic about the need for change.

"I think there's a sense that we're moving in the right direction, yes it's painful, yes there's a big transition ahead, but it has to be done," she said.

She says there is no quota for job losses, but it is likely Canberra Times staff will be able to apply for voluntary redundancies from mid-July.

"Next week too we expect position descriptions to be rolled out because there will be new positions on offer and people can start applying for those," she said.

Ms Metherall says there was no decision made about the future of the paper's parliamentary bureau, and readers will decide if the paper remains a broadsheet or becomes tabloid format.

"There is no urgency in that situation as our print operations is quite sufficient, but Garry Linnell said it will be based on what our readership wants, unless business," she said.

The paper's editor Rod Quinn will remain in the top job under the title of editor-in-chief.

Mr Quinn says he will support staff during the shake-up.

"There'll be consultation, there'll be transparency," he said.

"Any process that involves change and the unfortunate issue of voluntary redundancies is going to create uncertainty and we are extremely mindful of the feelings of our staff and we're going to work very closely with them through this process." Mr Quinn says new positions will be rolled out from next week and staff can apply for voluntary redundancies from mid July.

"We've announced a new structure for the Canberra Times newsroom which will take us into the digital future and allow us to serve content to our audiences across multiple platforms," he said.

"A number of new positions will be created.

Those include platform editors and topic editors.

"An important distinction between the old and the new newsroom is that we will be dividing the people that produce the content from the platform." Canberra Times staff will attend more briefings about the changes next week.

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