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Postmedia to lay off 11% of editorial staff, sources say

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Newspaper publisher Postmedia Network Corp. is laying off 11% of its editorial staff, according to sources, a week after employees were told the company was working on an “economic contraction.” It’s not yet.

Postmedia, which owns publications such as the National Post, the Vancouver Sun and the Calgary Herald and employs about 650 journalists, announced the layoffs at the Town Hall Tuesday afternoon.

In an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Canadian Press, Jerry Knott, acting senior vice president of editorial content, said the cut was for all of the company, with the exception of Brunswick News and Postmedia Editorial Services. said it would affect the publication of Miniaturization.

“There are no properties in our network that are immune to restructuring, restructuring, or layoffs,” he said.

“And to be clear, this is to align our cost structure with revenue streams against the continued decline of the industry and strong economic headwinds that have led to this difficult decision to reduce headcount.”

Post Media did not respond to a request for comment about the cut.

The source has asked not to be identified because it is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter or share recordings of the meeting.

Dozens of newspapers have gone digital-only

The layoffs come days after the company warned staff in a memo that hiring restrictions and layoffs would eliminate an unspecified number of roles across Post Media in the coming months.

At the same time, it announced that it would transition dozens of Alberta’s community newspapers to a digital-only format, increase printing outsourcing deals, lay off employees, and sell the home of the Calgary Herald.

The company has also adjusted print deadlines in major markets, made changes to its comics and puzzles, and discontinued publications on several days, Nott said Tuesday.

“Without these changes, the number of journalists affected by furloughs would have been significantly higher,” he said.

A man walks past a newspaper box containing the Vancouver Sun and Province in downtown Vancouver in 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Knott added he had not yet identified the specific jobs that would be cut, and said managers could be affected at a higher or disproportionate rate than non-managers.

He said he plans to start conversations with editors who will implement the cuts in the next 24 hours, and anyone who feels they can’t be part of the future of the company is encouraged to take the initiative. I urged them to talk to their unions, human resources departments or editors about their severance packages.

Knott also revealed that the company plans to permanently move to remote work, with the exception of markets such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

He acknowledged that the move would create “difficult times” but said it was “essential” to find a way through this “very turbulent stretch”.

Journalists ‘depressed…disillusioned’

Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, a trade union representing some post-media workers, said Knott’s announcement left staff “completely demoralized and disillusioned.”

“We always think we’ve hit bottom. And they always find new bottoms. I don’t know how you can run a successful media company with this level of staffing.”

He added that the cuts would only make the fight against disinformation and misinformation more difficult, bad for democracy, and meant that “the post-media are now treading water for survival”. .

Peg Fong, a lecturer in journalism at Langara University in Vancouver, said the cuts were “devastating.”

“The job cuts at Post Media seem to be more serious than at other major media outlets…they always seem to have some reason for wanting to cut the lifeblood of the newspaper, the reporters,” she said.

Newspaper conglomerates, including Postmedia, have long been plagued by declining print subscribers, the rise of tech giants eating into media profits, and the shift of advertising from print to online.

“The undeniable truth is that print readers are leaving. It’s a demographic that won’t be displaced by another readership that also consumes news,” Knott said Tuesday. rice field.

“It’s clear that our advertisers have moved from print to digital. It’s clear that in the digital space, we’re facing huge things that are very competitive and very difficult for us.”

In recent years, Postmedia has responded by closing many small-town newspapers, curtailing print production of some titles, and resorting to job cuts and voluntary acquisitions to control costs.

Asked if postmedia itself will exist in the next few years, Knott said, “I think there’s every reason to be hopeful, and I think it will exist three to five years from now.” .

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