Last week started badly for Australia's oldest newspaper company, and then it got worse. By the end of the week staff at the two metro dailies - The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald - were on strike and management was bunkering down to produce the weekend's papers.
All in all, the publicity was as bad as it gets for a major media company. The Australian, in particular, enjoyed the show and took delight in pointing out the shortcomings of their competitor, which of course eventually got right up the nose of Fairfax CEO David Kirk.
But traditional rivalry aside, the changes at Fairfax are really only good news for one group: PR people.
As a senior Communications executive confided last week, the Fairfax news made life for his staff better in two ways. With a flood of unemployed journos becoming available, suddenly the labour market would turn in favour of PR companies who had struggled to recruit quality staff in recent times. At the same time his people would be writing more copy for Fairfax as there would be less people in their newsrooms to knock it back or rewrite it.
It's a syndrome Nick Davies would recognise immediately.