Postmedia Merges Newsrooms in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa

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Publisher Cuts 90 jobs, Vows to Continue Sun & Province as Separate Brands

 By Pete Evans, CBC News       Posted: Jan 19, 2016 

Postmedia president and CEO Paul Godfrey says each city affected by Tuesday's announcement will have one newsroom, but operate two newspapers.
Postmedia president and CEO Paul Godfrey says each city affected by Tuesday’s announcement will have one newsroom, but operate two newspapers. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

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Newspaper chain Postmedia today announced sweeping changes to its operations, cutting 90 jobs across the country and merging newsrooms from multiple newspapers into one each in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

“We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets,” Postmedia CEO and president Paul Godfrey said in a memo to staff Tuesday afternoon. “What is changing is how we produce these products.”

The chain says two papers in those markets — the Sun and Province in Vancouver, the Herald and Sun in Calgary, the Journal and Sun in Edmonton, and the Citizen and Sun in Ottawa — will share newsroom resources, but continue to operate.

“Each city will have one newsroom,” Godfrey said, and the two papers will be run by one editorial team.

At least 90 editorial jobs are being cut as a result of the process.

They partially break down as follows:

  • 35 in Edmonton.
  • 25 in Calgary.
  • 12 in Ottawa.
  • 5 at the National Post.

“We will also be introducing a buyout program in the Vancouver and Ottawa newsrooms as part of this one newsroom initiative,” the memo said.

The chain’s two Toronto-based newspapers — the Toronto Sun and National Post — will remain separate.

But the chain is centralizing its entire sports coverage through one desk based in Toronto, which will lead to some sports-related layoffs at the Toronto-based National Post.

Postmedia’s finances have been sagging for several quarters under a large debt load, much of which was accrued when the company bought the entire Sun chain of newspapers from Quebecor in late 2014 for $316 million.

That move consolidated most of the English-language newspapers in Canada under the Postmedia banner, with the notable exception of the Toronto Star and the Globe And Mail.

READ MORE  HERE  AT THE CBC NEWS WEBSITE

10 COMMENTS

  1. So Paul Godfrey, how much did you reduce your compensation now that you have 90 less employees so oversee. I find it amazing that you keep your job after you turned other money making companies into money losers. Have you actually had any jobs you were successful?? and made a profit??

  2. When you hear about formerly money-making companies that were turned into money-losers and such companies were made so intentionally through poor business practices (and in the case of newspapers, radio and TV, pushing certain ideological viewpoints that are not popular with the general public), what it sounds like is the fulfillment of goal #37 of the Communist goals for America (and by extension, Canada) from 1963 (“Infiltrate and gain control of big business”).

  3. Any suggestions on the possible buyout people at The Vancouver Sun? In the last round of buyouts we said good-bye to David Baines, among others. Baines remains sorely missed. We may never see the likes of his investigative reporting again, at least not in this market. Think of the financial scams he exposed over the years. Might Vaughan Palmer be a buyout offer taker? There are several other likely candidates. That may be the end for my near-lifelong subscription to The Sun.

  4. I’m such a newspaper junkie that I subscribe to physical copies of the Times-Colonist, Globe and Mail and National Post and buy the Vancouver Sun. (Last February, PostMedia ended Sun home delivery in Greater Victoria.) Yeah, it would be cheaper to get digital delivery of all four papers, but I’m addicted to the tactile pleasure of turning pages, penning in crossword answers and clipping articles for future reference.

    So I do wonder how things will play out in the wake of this latest PostMedia deck shuffle. Earlier tonight I heard the combined Edmonton papers will only have one editor. The Journal’s editor got her walking papers. Not coincidentally, she had justifiably pushed back when ordered to write a pre-provincial election editorial endorsing the flailing Progressive Conservative incumbents.

    How will things work in Vancouver? Will Sun editor Harold Munro get turfed or his counterpart at the Province? How will Sun and Province reporters enjoy working in the same physical newsroom? Won’t it be very difficult for one paper to scoop the other on a big story? Or will the journalists have their lips sealed with duct tape to prevent spilling secrets near deadline?

    PostMedia is a dead conglomerate walking. After the takeover of the Sun tabloid chain, they’ve doubled their debt to about CDN $680 million. Their bond holders are getting hefty interest payments. Godfrey is alright Jack. But the product is suffering so much that even Conrad Black (who is a significant shareholder) complained that all the newspapers have been so compromised by endless cuts that they are now often boring shadows of themselves.

    Maybe Lord Black will launch a takeover. More likely PostMedia will enter creditor protection. (Their common shares which launched at about $10 are now near Penny stocks.) If so, the Feds should intervene to urge the courts to oversee a sale of each paper to local interests. Hopefully, the Globe would make a separate bid for the National Post. Canada can sustain one national newspaper. Whether Vancouver can support both the Sun and the Province remains to be seen.

  5. Harold Munro is still listed as editor in today’s paper and his Twitter feed has no content about the changes here in Vancouver. Here are some Vancouver Sun names to watch in the next few days as buyout offers surface: Bolan, McMartin, Mulgrew, Palmer, Shaw and others. A paper without these talented writers will no longer be a compelling draw for me.

  6. POST MEDIA STOCK PRICE 24 cents today- stock was up 60% in one day.
    In my new home town of Penticton- The DAILY Penticton Herald – had 9 ads plus
    a couple pages of classified yesterday morning. 16 page paper.
    As Jim Morrison once sang- “This is the end ” sad way to go.

  7. Is there a little hypocrisy in us all in the online community taking as much as we want for free .. when before the digital age we would have had to pay real money to read each of those publications?
    Don’t bemoan the loss of journalism if the dollars you pay for it are down from years gone by. I suspect we are all paying less while absorbing and scanning much more.
    Newspapers are in survival mode .. and the suits are only doing what may help them to do that.

  8. Yes, Island Guy, the “suits” running all North American newspapers face challenges. But since I do buy (four) newspapers a day, and used to work as a reporter, I view PostMedia as a particularly cynical ploy by hedge funds and their to enrich themselves. In my opinion, Paul Godfrey is a willing participant in the game of whacking the papers to nothingness to preserve their, at least, minimal profitability so that interest payments to the funds aren’t interrupted.

    Had the courts overseeing the Canwest creditor-protection wrap-up asked some harder questions, perhaps the best solution would’ve been to sell all the metro papers to local interests. That would probably have prompted the Globe or Toronto Star to make a bid for the National Post.

    I believe that day is coming, and soon. Since my first comment, we’ve heard that Harold Munro will, indeed, be the odd man out as the Sun and Province combine operations. A real gentleman, and an amazing beat reporter in his day, Harold toiled for the past few years without the title Editor-in-Chief. He was simply identified on the masthead as “Editor” and thus, possibly earned less than predecessors such as Patricia Graham.

    Maybe non-profit foundations are the key to newspaper survivability. U.S. billionaires like Jeff Bezos are buying venerable papers, perhaps for the prestige. Again, can’t help thinking Lord Black might be back. In lifestyle and ego and bad judgment legally, Conrad has his flaws. But you couldn’t accuse him of running dull newspapers during the late ’90s and early OOs.

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