Calgary and Edmonton hit hard by Postmedia cuts
The media landscape in Canada took a beating on Tuesday as nearly 100 jobs, with over half of those in Alberta, were lost as Postmedia announced it would be changing how it delivers news.
The corporation, which owns the National Post, the Sun newspaper chain, the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal along with many other local daily newspapers, said it would be merging newsrooms in many urban centres.
The aim was to save the company $80M, but that plan meant many people, some of them veteran reporters of many years, would be losing their jobs.
90 people were laid off, with 35 of those coming from Edmonton, 25 in Calgary, 12 in Ottawa, and the remainder in other areas.
In an interview, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said the decline in print advertising revenue since the Sun Media acquisition drove the changes.
"The business model has been disrupted," Godfrey said. "Our goal was trying to keep the newsrooms separate at the time, but with the continuation of the decline, we thought the important thing was to keep the newspapers open and we figured out this was the best way to do it."
In Calgary, the Sun and Herald will remain as two separate newspapers, but they will be published out of the same room and will be overseen by one editor.
Postmedia says that it will still work to reach the different audiences and advertisers by keeping the titles separate, but many say that won’t solve the issue of declining readership.
“It would seem purely a decision to reduce costs and hope that the audience will forgive that and accept that and stay with the newspaper they are most fond of,” said Terry Field, an associate professor of Journalism at Mount Royal University.
Many of those that lost their jobs turned to social media to express their disappointment in being laid off.
-30- Thank you Calgary for nine amazing years, sad to be leaving @calgarysun but new adventures await. Good luck to everyone #yyc #postmedia— Dave Dormer (@SunDaveDormer) January 19, 2016
Sad to say goodbye to the @calgaryherald today. I was so lucky to share my passion for food with all of you on those pages. -30-— gwendolyn richards (@gwendolynmr) January 19, 2016
So, after 34 years covering sports in Calgary, it's over. Am I sad? No. Bitter? Yes. Very. Condolences to all others affected by the carnage— George Johnson (@GeorgejohnsonCH) January 19, 2016
Thanks #yeg for letting me tell your stories. It's been an honour. Best wishes to all my friends at @edmontonjournal. #postmedia— Bill Mah (@MahSpace) January 19, 2016
That's ballgame, Tweeps. From UPC to CP to Ottawa Citizen to Edmonton Journal -- 35 fabulous years. Thanks to all. Play on.— John MacKinnon (@rjmackinnon) January 19, 2016
The cuts even reached the PM’s office, with Justin Trudeau tweeting:
Journalists are vital to our democracy. I'm saddened to hear of the cuts at #Postmedia today and my thoughts are with those affected.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 20, 2016
The cuts come less than a week after Postmedia announced it was stepping up its efforts to reduces costs to overcome continued losses in advertising, print circulation and digital media revenue.
(With files from Chris Epp and the Canadian Press)