Postmedia has cut approximately 90 jobs and merged newsrooms in four cities as it steps up plans to slash costs amid mounting revenue losses.
The company owns two newspapers in each of the cities of Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
On Tuesday, Postmedia said those cities will each have one newsroom, but they will continue publishing two newspapers.
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“We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets,” Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said in a memo sent to staff. “What is changing is how we produce these products.”
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The two Calgary newspapers – the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald – will share one editor, as will the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun, Godfrey said.
He said the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun will also have one editor and the company is looking for someone to fill that role.
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In all, about 90 staff were laid off. Phyllise Gelfand, the company’s vice-president of communications, said those losses included about 35 people in Edmonton, 25 in Calgary and 12 in Ottawa.
Gelfand said there were no job losses in Vancouver but the company will offer buyout packages in the coming days.
Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M, which represents some of the Ottawa employees who were let go, accused Postmedia of breaking its promise to continue operating two independent newspapers in each of those four markets.
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The reality is that all the information will be coming out of one newsroom, he said.
The layoffs included Stephanie Coombs and Margo Goodhand, who were the managing editor and editor-in-chief at the Edmonton Journal, respectively.
Super sad to say that as of today, I’m no longer with the @edmontonjournal. It’s been a privilege to work there and tell Edmonton’s stories.
— Stephanie Coombs (@stephcoombs) January 19, 2016
So sorry to leave that tremendously talented @edmontonjournal newsroom. No regrets.
— Margo Goodhand (@margogoodhand) January 19, 2016
National Post sports reporters David Alter and Eric Koreen, as well as the sports department’s web producer Kaitlyn McGrath, tweeted that they were also affected by the cutbacks.
Count me as one of the ones affected by the cuts. It was a fun 4 months and I learned a lot. https://t.co/pKftFAQ7B4
— David Alter (@dalter) January 19, 2016
As you will no doubt hear soon, Postmedia is making cuts today. I am one of them. It is a tremendous bummer.
— Eric Koreen (@ekoreen) January 19, 2016
Sad to say I’m also part of the Postmedia cuts today. So grateful for the opportunity @npsport gave me
— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) January 19, 2016
Gelfand said the company is creating a national sports writing team, which will be consist of existing employees.
The cuts come less than a week after Postmedia announced it was stepping up its efforts to cut costs to overcome continued losses in advertising, print circulation and digital media revenue.
The company, which owns the National Post, the Toronto Sun and other major Canadian newspapers, is now aiming for cost reductions of $80 million by mid-2017 – up from its previous goal of $50 million in cuts by the end of 2017.
Postmedia said it was on track to meet the $50-million target by this May 31, the end of its fiscal third quarter.