Inside the Ugly Unravelling at the Vancouver Sun & Province


Fear, grief and turmoil rock newsroom after latest surprising and deep round of cuts.

  By David Beers,  1 Apr 2017  

David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee and an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.


It’s been a brutal three weeks of dread, tears, and colleagues suddenly forced to see each other as threats to their own jobs. That’s the picture painted by sources who were inside the recently merged Vancouver Sun and Province newsroom after layoffs were announced and the sorting of survivors and casualties began to unfold.

The cuts are nowhere near done, and with each round the newsroom is getting older, whiter and less versatile, said the sources.

The season of fear opened with word from Postmedia headquarters on March 10 that 54 employees, including 29 journalists, would be cut from its Vancouver-based operations, the Pacific Newspaper Group (PNG). The announcement was a startling blow, say inside sources, because when the last cuts — 20 per cent of positions across the company — were achieved with 38 buyouts at PNG just two months earlier in January, management gave the impression that would be it for a good while. “No one expected this so soon,” said a source. “We thought we’d hit the targets.”

When Postmedia trimmed positions at PNG before, it was through attrition, speeded by offers of buyout packages tied to years served. That tended to remove older, more financially secure workers from the ranks while retaining opportunities for younger journalists who were tending to handle heavier workloads as everyone kept getting told to do more with less.

This time was different because the cuts included outright layoffs. Editor-in-chief Harold Munro was instructed by headquarters to terminate newsroom workers if enough wouldn’t volunteer to take a buyout. That put journalists with least seniority most squarely in the crosshairs, as stipulated by the union contract.





  1. Crabs in a bucket.
    Trying to pull each other back down.
    54 layoffs …. Yea,it’s a good start.

    Insulated,out of touch people who live in their own snow globe world
    Where at every turn they tell each other how important they are to democracy

    You DID NOT help democracy or anything else by saying Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.15 years later you still haven’t apologized for that deathly lie.

    You didn’t help locals when Willie Pickton was running around murdering,by running stories on Phillip Owen saying the victims were on vacation while he gentrified west side alleys and lanes.

    You haven’t helped locals or democracy by ignoring and covering up the 13 found chopped off feet that belong to different victims… I guess that’s not a story compared to lady gaga new hair

    Your product was launched in the 1800’s
    You have no buisness model
    Turn off the lights and please go away.

  2. Quick survey: How many readers of this site actually subscribe to the print version of a newspaper? Any newspaper?
    How many readers of this site read the “paid” online version of any newspaper?
    How many readers of this site have a twitter account and other social media accounts to keep up to date on breaking news?
    What’s the deal with this constant attack on white people? Enough of this blatant racism already.

  3. Have near-lifelong subscription to Vancouver Sun. It’s been a terrific paper. Still has a few top-notch columnists that keep me subscribed but most recent round of cuts is making it increasingly difficult to justify the subscription. Do not pay for access to any other online version, although have considered the NYT.

  4. By subscribing to the Globe and Mail, readings can also pay extra for delivery of the New York Times. Many Canadians just sign up for the bulky Sunday edition. I believe those weekend subscribers can free or much-discounted digital access. In any event, the Globe is a vastly better newspaper than the much-diminished Sun. The Globe’s “S” section features three or more pages of Vancouver/BC content that most days matches or beats the Sun/Province. With the latest round of Postmedia editorial cuts, the Globe could well become BC’s paper of record.

    Postmedia’s stock is down about 98 percent from its all time high and will probably hit zero if the company enters creditor protection. I still get the Sun for Ian Mulgrew (justice), Kim Bolan (crime), Vaughn Palmer (politics) as well as reportage by Daphne Bramham, Larry Pynn and Rob Shaw. With the exception of Shaw, everyone else is nearing retirement age. Whether they make it before the Sun sets is something to ponder.

  5. I find it rather ironic that the television, radio, and print media are having trouble with fincances, when not even that long ago they were the only game in town. These three media outlets had the run of the roost. Made millions upon millions back in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s. Of which then they took that money and bought up more media properties. Now they are crying foul because they did not plan ahead, ad in they continually told audience’s..”check out our website “…and those audience’s did not come back. The 45, the 12 inches record, cassettes, 8 tracks, CD’s all gone…things change…and so does radio and television. Truth be told…advertisers don’t need you anymore….so many other creative ways to get your messages out now. Hey radio television and print? Instead of bitching…get creative.

  6. The real reason why print is dying is not because people don’t read, anymore, but rather, their reading habits have changed. Unfortunately, the ink-stained wretches who own these papers are stubborn, unwilling to change, and yes, arrogant businessmen. At one time in history, newspapers were a licence to print money and the ad salesmen were essentially order takers, and they didn’t have to sell much. Nowadays, not only do you have to sell, but there is much more competition. People still want to read good, well written, stories and good, investigative reporting.

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