Newspaper Industry

Canadian newspapers might be in decline, but they are still the largest source of journalism in this country.

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Scythe-wielding Postmedia ends talks at Ottawa Citizen, seeks conciliation - Postmedia abruptly ended three days of bargaining Thursday with the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, saying it would seek conciliation because talks were going nowhere. ONG President Debbie Cole said it was no wonder. The company had made it clear from the outset that it wants to gut the contract. “Not only were they demanding takeback after takeback, they wanted the ability to re-open the contract part-way through to take away more,” she said. The CWA Canada Local, which represents 62 workers in Editorial, Reader Sales & Service, Financial Services and Building Maintenance at the merged Ottawa Citizen/Sun, is well into a second year without a new collective agreement. Cole said the ONG executive will meet on Monday, with an eye to holding a general membership meeting later in the week to discuss the situation and develop strategy. It is expected it will take at least a month before a conciliator is appointed and then several more before talks could resume. Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, had warned the company last month when it imposed significant cuts on non-union staff not to take the same approach in bargaining. “If Postmedia tries to exact these concessions from unionized staff, they are going [...]
Postmedia losing a third executive who received hefty retention bonus - SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON | The Globe and Mail A third senior executive at Postmedia Network Canada Corp., who is part of a group awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars each in retention bonuses late last year, is leaving the company. Gordon Fisher, president of the National Post and the Pacific Newspaper Group, will retire at the end of April, the company confirmed on Friday. In November, Postmedia reported that almost $2.3-million in retention bonuses would be paid to its five most senior employees: $900,000 to president and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey, $450,000 to then-chief financial officer Doug Lamb, $425,000 to chief operating officer Andrew MacLeod, $300,000 to then-executive vice-president and legal counsel Jeffrey Haar and $200,000 to Mr. Fisher. Read the whole story at
Inside the Ugly Unravelling at the Vancouver Sun and Province - DAVID BEERS | The Tyee 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 [...]
Steve MacInnis makes donation Struck Herald’s shared delivery deal rankles pro-union islanders - A shared delivery deal between the owners of the Cape Breton Post and The Chronicle Herald has put members of two CWA Canada Locals in an uncomfortable position and riled pro-union islanders. The arrangement came into effect last week, just as the editorial unit of the Halifax Typographical Union (Local 30130) was marking 14 months on strike. The Sydney Typographical Union (Local 30460) represents 50 Post employees who work in the newsroom, advertising, the pressroom, customer service and as delivery drivers. “We’re not happy that the Cape Breton Post owners — Transcontinental Media — decided to deliver a scab-produced newspaper,” striking Herald reporter Tom Ayers told CBC. He was picketing outside the Post building in Sydney, where the Herald also has offices and a news bureau. “We’re not upset with the union. They have no choice. … we’re just trying to raise awareness,” Ayers told CBC reporter Holly Conners (who is also represented by a CWA Canada Local, the Canadian Media Guild). On Twitter, Ayers characterized the Post’s delivery of the struck Herald as an “attack on (its) unionized staff.” Steve MacInnis, president of the STU, said in a statement posted to the Local’s Facebook page, that they had no [...]
Postmedia warned against bringing non-union cuts to bargaining table - Postmedia has signalled that significant cuts to benefits it is imposing on non-union staff are likely to show up at the bargaining table. The debt-burdened company issued a memo today announcing it will chop its employment assistance plan, top-ups on maternity and parental leave payments, and benefits for employees retiring after Aug. 31. Vacation entitlements are being slashed and everyone will be moved from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution pension plan, with the employer’s input capped at three per cent. The memo said the changes were being made to “achieve harmony across our operations and to ensure the affordability of these programs.” Phyllise Gelfand, Postmedia’s vice-president of communications, told J-Source unionized employees are not affected by the cuts although program details would come up during collective bargaining. CWA Canada represents workers at four Postmedia dailies — The Ottawa Citizen, Kingston Whig-Standard, Regina Leader-Post and Windsor Star — which are either in or about to start negotiations on new collective agreements. “If Postmedia tries to exact these concessions from unionized staff, they are going to have a battle on their hands,” said CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon. There have already been significant cuts to Postmedia newsrooms through buyouts and layoffs over [...]

Link to the full Newspaper Industry news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

17.03.10 Financial Post – Postmedia announces 54 layoffs at Vancouver Sun and Province subsidiary
17.03.09 Poynter – After punishing layoffs, New Jersey journalists start up their own local newspaper
17.03.06 Editor & Publisher – The Canadian newspaper industry is getting a new jolt of life
17.03.04 Globe and Mail – Torstar turns to a marketing guru as its new CEO
17.02.23 Globe and Mail – In the age of ‘fake news,’ media outlets turn to advertising to tout the importance of journalism
17.02.22 NewsGuild – Digital First Media workers launch campaign to fight attacks on journalism
17.02.07 HuffPo Canada – Liberals won’t bail out Canada’s news industry, sources say
17.01.27 Globe and Mail – How to fix the ever-weakening state of the news media
17.01.25 The Canadian Press – Report to offer ‘ideas’ for stemming crisis in Canada’s media sector: author
17.01.23 Policy Options – Canada’s local news ‘poverty’
17.01.13 Bloomberg TV – Postmedia CEO: Newspapers are worth trying to save

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