Postmedia merges newsrooms across Canada, lays off 90

 20 Jan 2016 - 1:06

Postmedia merges newsrooms across Canada, lays off 90

 

Montreal: Postmedia, the largest media group in Canada, announced Tuesday that it was eliminating 90 editorial jobs and merging newsrooms at its newspapers in four cities.

"We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets," Postmedia chief executive Paul Godfrey said in a memo to staff. "What's changing is how we produce these products."

The affected newspapers include the Vancouver Sun and Province, the Calgary Sun and Herald, the Edmonton Sun and Journal, and the Ottawa Sun and Citizen. Each pair will now have a single top editor managing both papers.

Sports coverage for the chain has also been centralized.

Staff went to social media to express their discontent, their concerns about too much media concentration in this country, or to announce they had lost their job.

"Super sad to say that as of today, I'm no longer with the @edmontonjournal," former managing editor Stephanie Coombs wrote on Twitter.

CWA Canada, the union representing journalists, called on the federal government to "take action before it's too late to prevent Postmedia from destroying the country's major daily newspapers."

It asked Ottawa to consider legislation to limit concentration of media ownership and prevent debt-leveraged takeovers. It noted that Postmedia blames shrinking print advertising for its financial woes, but the union pointed instead to its massive Can$672 debt.

CWA Canada president Martin O'Hanlon called it a "dark day for journalism," while predicting that bloodletting would only hasten Postmedia's slide toward bankruptcy.

The changes are part of an ongoing restructuring at Postmedia, which last year purchased the rival Sun chain of newspapers from Quebecor.

Since the acquisition, Godfrey said, "we have been working to move our teams together in order to leverage strengths and also to find synergies and savings. We made progress across our sales, marketing, HR, finance, IT and other administrative functions. The next step is our newsrooms."

AFP