Postmedia Cuts Jobs and Merges Newsrooms
What will be the future of Canadian journalism?
Sam Ridgway, Staff Writer
Canadians like to believe that their news is unbiased, honest and covers a broad spectrum of topics and viewpoints, but as Postmedia cuts journalists and merges newsrooms, a dark truth may begin to come to light.
Postmedia, who own all but three daily newspapers in English speaking Canada, announced on Jan.19 that they would be merging newsrooms in four cities. This decision meant cutting 90 jobs, 70 from Alberta– and altogether approximately eight percent of their national journalists.
Since 2011, Postmedia revenues have fallen steadily, and the company has repeatedly cut expenses. These cuts have saved the company money, but some speculate that they have resulted in lower quality products and services – which only further result in falling revenues.
According to an internal memo from Postmedia CEO Paul Godrey, “[Postmedia] will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets. What is changing is how we produce these products.”
“The extent of the cuts today were pretty shocking,” said Gregory Taylor, an assistant professor from the Department of Communications at the University of Calgary, in an interview with Global Calgary on Jan. 19.
Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will be the first to see these changes. Although the newsrooms will be merged, Postmedia will continue publishing two newspapers in these cities, but many critics believe that all of Postmedia’s markets will be reduced to one paper per city.
“We did talk about this when Postmedia announced its intention to purchase the Sun papers […] that it would lead to less media diversity and it would lead to fewer voices, fewer jobs,” says Nick Taylor-Vaisey, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. “Cuts of any magnitude, in any newsroom, diminish the public’s right to know.”
Many media professionals have voiced their concerns over the changes, stating that the previous monopoly – which was ethically questionable but still relatively supported – has now become a problem, as there is now only one editorial team and procedure being followed in each city.
Jana G. Pruden, a crime reporter with the Edmonton Journal, took to Twitter to stand in solidarity with her fellow reporters.
“This country is losing a lot of reporters today. One of them may be me. But beyond the personal, there is something far bigger at stake,” she said. “Canada, and every democracy, needs strong media. It is crucial. Never more so than in a changing, evolving, challenging world.”