Readers, reviewers, authors and academics have joined forces to try to put pressure on Fairfax Media after the recent axing of literary, arts and features editors' jobs at the Canberra Times. A Facebook campaign has been set up, called Save the Canberra Times Literary Pages. It has a subsidiary page, Save Canny Times Book Pages, that can be 'Liked'. People are welcome to lend their voices and comments, to 'friend' the campaign, and to write their own letters to the editor. People can also tweet, using the hashtag #LitArtsCanTimes.
Letters should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan Nicholls, who set up the Facebook group, suggests letter-writers express support for local and regional content in Canberra's arts and literary pages.
Nicholls says a 'blizzard of letters' has been sent to the Canberra Times's editor to protest the staff cuts. However, no letters have yet been published, according to an opinion piece by Frank O'Shea.
O'Shea said: 'We know about the outsourcing because the ABC and The Australian have told us. There has been no mention in the CT, none whatsoever. Not surprisingly, when people found out they wrote letters to the editor – I am personally aware of at least three who have done so – but none have been published. The understanding in Canberra is that a diktat went out that such letters were not to be published.'
Bookseller + Publisher reported that the story about the Canberra Times's staff cuts was the most clicked on story in last week's Weekly Book Newsletter.