By Janine Perrett

Talk about bombing the village to save it.

That seems to be the business strategy for Fairfax which is based on an infamous military strategy of the Vietnam war.

"In order to save the village, we had to destroy it" was the quote attributed to an American general, which has since been used to sum up self-defeating strategies for armies and companies.

The shock news yesterday that Fairfax is to sack 120 journalists in Melbourne and Sydney sparked an immediate and unprecedented four-day strike by incensed staff and brought into question the whole concept of the future of "quality journalism" in this country.

A few numbers to understand the gravity of the Fairfax announcement.

The retrenchments would be concentrated on their metropolitan titles, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review.

The numbers amount to losing one in four of the editorial staff.

The move is part of an effort to drastically reduce the number of stories produced by about one third - down from 9000 per month to 6000 per month.

So the already declining output would be slashed even further providing even less incentive for the remaining readers (of which I proudly count myself one) to continue buying the product.

Sure we are acutely aware that many industries are suffering from disruption in the latest technical industrial revolution.

And we know that traditional media companies the world over are suffering similar survival issues as readership moves from paper to online.

Indeed we have witnessed the spectacle of the Fairfax online site in a fight to the bottom with news.comic.au; full of clickbait and far removed from its newspaper product and the marketing campaign stressing "quality journalism".

Management claims this is a last ditch effort to save what remaining jobs there are. Journos claim they are walking out for the same reason.

Standing in the smouldering remains, they might wonder what is left to save.