Ninety people have lost their jobs after it was announced Tuesday that media company, Postmedia is to merge newsrooms in four cities across the country.
The company owns two newspapers in each of the cities of Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, each of these cities will now have one newsroom with a single editorial team, but they will continue publishing two newspapers.
35 jobs were lost in Edmonton including the top two editors at the Edmonton Journal, while 25 people were let go in Calgary and 12 in Ottawa.
No one has been laid off in Vancouver, but he company says it will be offering buyout packages there in the coming days.
The chain’s two Toronto based newspapers, the Toronto Sun and National Post are to remain separate, however, it was also announced that the company is to centralise its entire sports coverage through one desk based in Toronto.
This will lead to some sports related job losses at National Post.
Speaking of the cuts, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said the company will continue to operate separate brands in each of affected markets, but “what is changing is how we produce these products,” adding that We know ”this will not be without its challenges and we know there will be bumps along the road.”
He also said that he is ”confident that our new newsroom design will not only result in some important cost reductions but that we will be focused on creating the best products for our audiences and clients across the country.”
Postmedia has been struggling financially of late and has accrued hundreds of million in debt.
Just last week it announced that it was to increase its efforts to cut costs amid continued losses in advertising, print circulation and digital media revenue.
Meanwhile, Unifor, which represents some of the staff who have been laid off has reacted to the news, calling the plan to consolidate news rooms across the country, ”a massive betrayal of trust by the newspaper chain to its readers.”
Unifor National President Jerry Dias has called for political intervention saying that ”the state of the news industry in this country – both print and broadcast – demands the immediate attention of the new Liberal government in Ottawa.”
In a release issued on Tuesday afternoon, the union points out that ”the only major newspapers in English Canada that Postmedia does not own are the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press.”
Dias says that ”this is an enormous concentration of media control into a few hands,” and that ”centralized news gathering and opinions, including in local news, do not add to the national debate that helps build a functioning democracy.”