Here are the publications Sun is closing down24 Hours (Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton editions)
L’Action Régionale in Montérégie (Québec)
The Lindsay Daily Post (Ontario)
The Midland Free Press (Ontario)
The Meadow Lake Progress (Saskatchewan)
The Lac du Bonnet Leader (Manitoba)
The Beausejour Review (Manitoba)
Le Magazine Saint-Lambert (Québec)
Le Progrès de Bellechasse (Québec)
Julie Tremblay, chief operating officer at Sun Media, attributed the cuts to the “unprecedented transformation” sweeping the print publishing industry.
“The management decisions we are making are difficult and highly regrettable, particularly the job cuts,” she said in a statement. “However, the downsizing is necessary to maintain a strong positioning for our new media outlets on all platforms and more broadly to secure our corporation’s future success in an industry that is being revolutionized by the advent of digital.”
A memo from Tremblay circulated to staff said the cuts represented about 8% of the company’s workforce.
“Our vision is to continue to be the leading news media provider in Canada while being the most profitable in the industry,” the note said.
“This means that we will continue to focus on great journalism, hard hitting information that reports on issues that matter most to people. It also means that we will continue to partner with our advertisers to offer them innovative solutions in reaching customers and furthering success.”
Sun Media plans to close its 24 Hours newspapers in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton, leaving the free urban daily operating in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
It said it decided to focus on a single urban newspaper in each market except for Toronto and Montreal, where it also publishes the Toronto Sun and Le Journal de Montreal and where mass transit systems justify the continuation of the free dailies as well.
The company said it has already shuttered or will cease publication at The Lindsay Daily Post and The Midland Free Press in Ontario, L’Action Regionale in Monteregie, Le Magazine Saint-Lambert and Le Progres de Bellechasse in Quebec, The Meadow Lake Progress in Saskatchewan, and The Beausejour Review and The Lac du Bonnet Leader in Manitoba.
Tremblay said the layoffs will be sprinkled across the country, not just at the papers that are being shut down.
Paul Morse, president of the Southern Ontario News Media Guild, which represents workers at 13 Sun Media papers in Ontario, said 15 of the union’s members have lost their jobs.
Morse worried about the affect the layoffs will have on Canadian journalism.
“One of the reasons that we enjoy the freedoms that we have in this country and the standard of life that we have in this country is because we have a press that operates independently and professionally,” he said.
“If we lose that, it’ll have a major impact on our lives as we know it. It’s a very, very slippery slope.”
Quebecor also announced Tuesday that Wendy Metcalfe, editor-in-chief of the St. Catharines Standard, will become the new editor-in-chief of the Toronto Sun.
She replaces James Wallace, who stepped down on Monday.
Declining advertising revenues have hit the newspaper industry hard.
Quebecor warned earlier this year that it would not rule out further cost-cutting efforts to address the drop facing its newspaper business.
Last year, it announced plans to cut some 500 jobs at its Sun Media newspaper division, a move that included the closure of two production facilities in Ottawa and Kingston.
Sun Media has 36 paid-circulation daily newspapers and three free dailies as well as almost 200 community newspapers, shopping guides and other specialty publications.
During the first quarter of 2013, revenues at the company’s news media division were down 11% to $207.6-million from $233.1-million in the same period a year earlier.
When the company announced the quarterly results in May, outgoing CEO and chairman of Quebecor Meida Pierre Karl Peladeau said in a statement that, “News media segment management took immediate steps to adjust its cost structure again in light of the conditions experienced in the first quarter of 2013.”
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