Death by a thousand cuts continues apace at Sun Media, which today announced it is shuttering 11 titles and axing 360 jobs.
CWA Canada, which represents workers at several Sun Media newspapers, urged the company in a news release to reverse its self-destructive plan and to instead focus on quality local jobs and journalism to boost profits.
Director Martin O’Hanlon said Quebecor-owned Sun Media, which last November cut 500 jobs and closed production plants in Ottawa and Kingston, is pursuing a slash-and-burn strategy that will only lead to a slow death.
In her note to employees today, in a spectacular example of doublespeak, Sun Media COO Julie Tremblay trumpets that Sun Media will “continue to focus on great journalism.”
“And how will they do that?” asks O’Hanlon. “By laying off journalists!”
“I’m still waiting for someone to show me how you produce better journalism with fewer journalists. To suggest it’s possible is either delusional or dishonest — neither bodes well for Sun Media’s fortunes.”
2011.11.29| Quebecor’s Sun Media eliminating 400 jobs
2008.12.16| Union deplores Quebecor’s massive job cuts
O’Hanlon maintains that cutting jobs is a suicidal strategy that only hurts quality and does nothing to attract readers or generate revenue.
He notes Quebecor talks a good story about its commitment to the communities it serves, but everything it does — from cutting local jobs to producing sub-standard local news — is bad for those communities.
Five CWA Canada members (of Local 30248 – Peterborough) lost their jobs last month, when Sun Media shut down the 152-year-old Lindsay Daily Post. It is among the 11 closures announced today. A few more of the union’s members, reporters at other Sun Media papers, will see their jobs cut.
All of those members will have access to CWA Canada’s $500 training/education grant and whatever other support the union can provide.
Sun Media is to kill off its free 24 Hours newspapers in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton as well as community publications in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It describes the closures as “a series of initiatives to enhance operational efficiencies” and expects to save $55 million.
O’Hanlon once again suggested that Quebecor borrow a page from legendary investor Warren Buffett who is busy buying newspapers in the United States and committing to quality local journalism as the key to success.