Newspaper Industry

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

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Press release graphic Media union welcomes federal aid for news industry, but ‘devil is in the details’ - OTTAWA — CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, welcomes the federal government’s announcement of financial help for the news industry, but cautions that the devil will be in the details. Today’s announcement in the fall economic statement promises $595 million in tax credits and other incentives over five years, including a refundable tax credit for “labour costs associated with producing original news content.” It will also allow non-profit media organizations to apply for charitable status. Full details won’t be available until the next budget after the government consults with an “independent” panel from the journalism community. “We’re certainly pleased to see this badly needed help coming, especially the eligibility for charitable status,” CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said. “But we will need to see the details before we can fully endorse the package. We don’t want to see the money being used by companies like Postmedia to pay off their hedge fund masters or to further line the pockets of top executives, and we have told the government that.” In a shocking and shameless move, Postmedia, which has cut over 3,000 jobs in the last decade, had the gall to give CEO Paul Godfrey and other top executives a [...]
Big win on health benefits for CWA Canada members in Kingston, North Bay - An arbitrator has upheld a ‘me too’ provision negotiated by CWA Canada that will see members who work at Postmedia newspapers in Kingston and North Bay get the same health benefits as their colleagues at the Windsor Star. “It’s a great win,” said national staff representative David Wilson, who led negotiations at the three Locals. “They’re going to get the Windsor plan as of Dec. 1.” The Windsor Typographical Union (Local 30553) successfully fought off demands for major concessions, reaching an agreement at strike deadline in May that saw them retain a benefits plan that was far superior to the Common Plan that Postmedia was attempting to impose company-wide. Wilson had, in 2017, led bargaining at the Kingston Whig Standard and at The Nugget in North Bay, both of which settled collective agreements that included the Common Plan but contained a ’me too’ clause that said they would get a “different” plan if a better one was negotiated by another CWA Canada Local. The company argued at a one-day hearing in September that the contract clause entitled unionized employees in Kingston and North Bay to an improved Common Plan, negotiated elsewhere, rather than a completely different one. Arbitrator Barry Stephens [...]
Over 250 Canadian news media outlets have closed in last 10 years - H.G. WATSON | J-Source [~] Over the last 10 years, the number of media outlets in Canada has dwindled — and not enough new media outlets have sprung up to replace them. According to data collected by the Local News Research Project, using their crowdsourced Local News Map, over 250 Canadian news outlets have closed from 2008 to Oct. 1, 2018, either outright or through mergers with other media outlets. “The goal of the map is to provide some basic data on what is happening to local journalism outlets across the country – information we’ve never had before,” said April Lindgren, lead investigator of the Local News Research Project and professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, in an email to J-Source. “And of course the data points to trends. One trend is that local news outlets are shutting down at a much greater pace than new ones are appearing.” Read the whole article at J-Source.ca >>>
JIm Westhead, John Rufh, Deborah Service-Brewster, Chris Carolan Union wins enhanced severance for Victoria Times Colonist mailers - About two dozen members of CWA Canada Local 30403 are out of work as of Monday, when the Victoria Times Colonist stops in-house printing of the newspaper. The silver lining is enhanced severance, negotiated by the union for many of the mailers walking out the door. “It was a very unselfish thing to do,” said local secretary-treasurer John Rufh. “We could have shut the whole place down because we had language against contracting out.” Members voted unanimously to accept the deal. Rufh, one of those leaving the newspaper, said members felt it was better to take a payout so that the Times Colonist could continue to operate. It will now be printed at a Black Press facility in Ladysmith, B.C. “We stood up and took one for the team.” The 14 mailers share $1.8 million in severance. Two of the 14 have job guarantees and can choose to stay with the company, which would reduce the severance pool to $1.5 million. Eleven part-time head feeders will receive regular severance of eight weeks. Rufh, also secretary of the CWA Canada executive board, has a long track record of proposing money-saving ideas and finding efficiencies for Times Colonist owner Glacier Media. The [...]
Montreal Guild prepares for showdown at Gazette with Postmedia - Members of the Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) are steeling themselves to withstand any intimidation Postmedia might be planning as bargaining at The Gazette resumes. The company is seeking major concessions on pension, benefits, vacation and wages, but CWA Canada Local 30111 president Ron Carroll said he is “cautiously optimistic we can arrive at a fair and equitable contract.” In order to win those concessions in Ottawa, Postmedia threatened to lock out staff at The Citizen and Sun if they rejected an offer in a vote on Sept. 12. Debbie Cole, president of the 63-member Ottawa Newspaper Guild (CWA Canada Local 30205), said “Postmedia’s campaign of fear was successful.” Members voted 32-24 in favour of the deal, which will cost staff thousands of dollars in lost benefits. Carroll said the MNG has been presented “with much of the same intolerable concessions and then some, but our members are united and are resolute in not bowing to the greedy hedge-fund masters that control Postmedia.” The MNG was prepared to declare a strike if their Ottawa colleagues had been locked out so that both Locals would have the power of two to fight Postmedia’s demands rather than stand alone against their onslaught. At [...]

Link to the full Newspaper Industry news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

18.12.04 The Tyee – More fuel for investigation into Torstar, Postmedia newspaper swap
18.12.02 The Conversation – Nonprofit news: Lessons from south of the border
18.11.28 Halifax Examiner – Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey was paid $5 million in 2018, but says his company is so broke it needs public subsidies
18.11.23 National Post – Andrew Coyne: Liberals’ $600M aid package for news media will irrevocably politicize the press
18.11.23 The Globe and Mail – My small-town newspaper died a year ago. The community has been grieving ever since
18.07.11 Toronto Star / CP – Postmedia reports $15.5 million loss as quarterly revenue slips
18.06.26 Toronto Star / CP – Postmedia to close more local newspapers, cut staff by 10 per cent
18.04.02 The Canadian Press – Torstar hiring 20 reporters as it revamps Metro urban dailies
18.03.12 CBC News – Competition Bureau searches Postmedia and Torstar offices in probe of newspaper deal
18.03.11 Toronto Star – Serious journalism is vital to healthy democracy and requires support
18.03.04 John Longhurst – Turning Newspapers Into Charities: A New Model for the Future?
18.03.02 iPolitics – Saving Canadian news media: Senate considers solutions for journalism, local news

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