Newspaper Industry

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

Latest News

Ruling on National Post union not expected until new year - National Post newsroom staff in Toronto and Ottawa are on tenterhooks awaiting a labour board decision that will determine whether they will become members of CWA Canada. A majority of them (31 of 59) voted Sept. 29 to join the media union, but there were seven challenged ballots that were not counted. Those ballots are the subject of hearings before the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) held Nov. 20 and 21. The examination of witnesses will likely extend into the new year and a board decision is not expected until several weeks after hearings conclude. In advance of the union certification vote conducted by the OLRB, the newsroom employee committee behind the organization effort drew up a list of workers who would be included in the bargaining unit. “The company added a few names to the employee list — which then became the voters list — that we believe are not part of the unit,” said the committee. “The union is submitting arguments to the labour board … about why we think these additional names should not be in the union. If we succeed, these ballots will not be counted and the vote will stand.” Employees at the National Post, [...]
ONG bargaining team CWA Canada Locals push back on Postmedia demands - Postmedia’s relentless gutting of its newspapers, which has in some cases turned journalists into janitors at the end of their shifts, is being met with defiance at several Locals that are bargaining new collective agreements. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said employees are in no mood to make sacrifices while the company pays millions of dollars in bonuses to executives and tens of millions to its American hedge fund and other lenders. “If this was a matter of helping the company survive, most would be happy to do their part and share the pain, but Postmedia papers are making money,” O’Hanlon said. “It’s just not fair that employees are forced to give up their company pension plan and take a big cut in medical benefits so that Postmedia can put the savings to executive bonuses and unsustainable debt payments.” Postmedia reported a quarterly profit of $40.3 million on Oct. 19, most of which was attributed to the sale in the summer of its Infomart division. The end of August was also the company’s fiscal year-end, for which it recorded net earnings of $44.8 million. Staff representative David Wilson, who leads negotiations at CWA Canada Locals, said there is strong pushback [...]
Closure of 36 newspapers ‘dark day for local journalism’ - A deal between Postmedia and TorStar to swap a total of 41 daily and weekly newspapers then shut most of them down is a “dark day for local journalism,” says CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon. Postmedia will close 23 of the 24 publications it takes over, putting 244 people out of work by mid-January. TorStar will, effective immediately, shut down 13 of the 17 newspapers it acquired from Postmedia and lay off 46 staff. The deal that will see 36 titles shuttered — all but two of them in Ontario — is a “deathblow to local newspaper competition in many communities,” said O’Hanlon. “It’s bad for local journalism and bad for municipal democracy.” O’Hanlon said it’s “outrageous that such a sweeping and damaging deal is legal and shows once again why the Competition Act needs to be beefed up.” In a news release, CWA Canada called on the federal government to take urgent action to save local news coverage. CWA Canada represents workers at the Peterborough Examiner, which will continue to operate under TorStar ownership, and at Northumberland Today, one of the three dailies that will shut down immediately. Postmedia will close free commuter dailies Metro Winnipeg and Metro Ottawa; [...]
Postmedia-TorStar deal is ‘deathblow’ to local news coverage, competition - OTTAWA – CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, is calling on the federal government to take urgent action to save local news coverage in the wake of the latest shocking development. Postmedia and TorStar announced today that they have swapped 41 newspapers, most of which will be shut down to eliminate competition with each other, putting almost 300 people out of work. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon called it a “deathblow” to local newspaper coverage and competition after years of such sales, mergers and closings. “It’s a dark day for local journalism and for local democracy,” O’Hanlon said. “This means fewer journalists reporting on the stories that matter to communities and leaves almost no one to hold local politicians and powerful interests to account in many places.” O’Hanlon said it’s outrageous that such a sweeping and damaging deal is legal and shows once again why the Competition Act needs to be beefed up. CWA Canada is urging the federal government to take immediate steps to bolster local news and prevent further devastation. Specifically: Provide federal funding, perhaps through the Canada Periodical Fund, to finance or subsidize professional, open-source local news coverage by non-profit news organizations. Allow non-profit news organizations [...]
Critics say new Globe and Mail freelance contract isn’t fair to writers - MITCHELL THOMPSON | J-Source [~] The Globe and Mail has received criticism for a revamped freelance contract that one critic says doesn’t treat authors fairly. Content Writers Group — formerly known as the Canadian Writers Group — founder Derek Finkle said the provisions in the Globe’s “amended and restated” freelance contract take away rights freelancers previously retained, with no extra compensation in sight. “The freelancer retains their copyright over the work but the contract makes those rights so narrow that you don’t really have the rights to your work,” Finkle said. For example, the contract demands freelancers give up moral rights to their contracted material, Finkle said. The CWG said that obligates freelance writers to “give publishers the right to essentially mutilate your work in ways that you might not agree with.”  Finkle added that it gives the company the power to rewrite copy freely, even if it changes the meaning of the work. The danger, Finkle explained, is that authors would lose the right to challenge editorial changes that fundamentally alter the article’s intent. “It seems to mean, if a writer wrote something mean about Donald Trump, the paper is free to turn it around and make it a nice [...]

Link to the full Newspaper Industry news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

17.12.10 The Globe and Mail – The Last Edition: The stories that go untold when a small town loses its newspaper
17.12.05 The Conversation – Instead of mourning local news, try paying for it
17.12.04 – What the closure of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald means for young journalists
17.12.03 CBC / The Sunday Edition – ‘Everybody else’s news’: The Moose Jaw Times-Herald closes its doors after 128 years
17.11.28 iPolitics – Postmedia, Torstar deal ‘cynical and disappointing’: Joly
17.11.28 Port Hope Now – Northumberland Today shuts down
17.11.28 Globe and Mail – Our local newspapers didn’t have to die
17.11.01 Globe and Mail – Torstar print ads fall, but cost-cutting efforts preserve cash balances: CEO
17.10.19 Financial Post – Postmedia reports $40.3M quarterly profit — and a new corporate succession plan
17.10.17 Politico – What if the newspaper industry made a colossal mistake?
17.09.14 The Tyee – A Day in the Life of Union-Bashing National Post
17.08.21 – Print distribution of The Globe and Mail coming to an end in Atlantic provinces
17.06.26 Canadaland – The Great Newspaper Bailout
17.06.20 Ryerson JRC – When rural newspapers fall prey to predatory ownership, local content goes fast
17.06.20 John Miller/ – Government subsidies for reporters are a really bad idea
17.06.16 Financial Post – Newspaper publishers ask Ottawa for $350 million a year to save print journalism
17.06.06 Toronto Star – John Honderich, Andrew Coyne debate if government should step in to save journalism
17.06.05 J-Source – Coverage of the Local News conference at Ryerson University in Toronto June 3-4

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