Aleksandra Sagan (The Canadian Press):
Postmedia is cutting approximately 90 jobs and merging newsrooms in four cities as Canada’s largest newspaper chain steps up plans to slash costs in the midst of mounting revenue losses.
The company owns two newspapers in each of the cities of Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver following its acquisition of Sun Media last year. Now those city papers will share a newsroom, although they’ll continue putting out different publications.
In an interview, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said the decline in print advertising revenue since the Sun Media acquisition drove the changes.
“The business model has been disrupted,” Godfrey said. “Our goal was trying to keep the newsrooms separate at the time, but with the continuation of the decline, we thought the important thing was to keep the newspapers open and we figured out this was the best way to do it.”
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, adding that the company is looking for someone to fill that role.
In all, about 90 staff have been laid off. Phyllise Gelfand, the company’s vice-president of communications, said those layoffs include 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. The two Ottawa papers will also offer buyouts, which could result in another 50 employees leaving the company, she said.
The cuts come less than a week after Postmedia announced it was stepping up its efforts to reduces costs to overcome continued losses in advertising, print circulation and digital media revenue.
The company 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 also said it was on track to meet the $50-million target by this May 31, the end of its fiscal third quarter.
See also: “Timeline of Postmedia empire’s inception, growth and struggles” (News 1130)