Bad news just keeps coming for stalwarts of the Fourth Estate north of the border.
First, CBC News covers the latest layoffs, this time in Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Eighteen Chronicle Herald staff have received layoff notices on the first day of their strike [Friday] at Canada’s oldest independently owned newspaper.
Frank Campbell, vice president of the Halifax Typographical Union, said Saturday layoff notices had been issued to four photographers, 12 editors and two page technicians. He said the union’s lawyers are analyzing the legality of the move.
“It wasn’t on our radar that people would receive layoff notices while we were on strike,” Campbell told CBC News.
And from the Toronto Globe and Mail, specifics on layoffs by Canada’s media giant:
The country’s largest newspaper chain, Postmedia Network Canada Corp., is merging once-competing newsrooms and cutting about 90 staff as it tries to cope with declining revenue and a heavy debt load.
In Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa – cities where Postmedia owns two daily papers – editorial staff will be joined together to work under one senior editor, filing stories and images to both publications. But the company is not closing any newspapers, promising to continue publishing two in each city, albeit with less distinctive content and fewer rival reporters working local beats.
Last April, as Postmedia closed a deal to buy 175 newspapers and digital publications from Quebecor Inc., executives from the company were promising that the newly acquired Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun and Ottawa Sun would remain competitors with the Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal and Ottawa Citizen. The consolidation of written media that resulted was unprecedented for Canada, but Postmedia stressed that newsrooms would stay separate, pointing to its existing control of both the Vancouver Province and Vancouver Sun.
And some interpretation from a rabble.ca post headlined “Right-wing newspapers take over media markets in four more cities”:
Recent developments surrounding Postmedia’s layoffs and restructuring are particularly unsettling. Postmedia, which is largely U.S. owned, prints both the National Post and the Toronto Sun separately. But in its restructured form, newspapers like the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun will have one editor with roots in the Sun news side. Good newsrooms with balanced editorial policies will likely be replaced with right-wing automatons like Lorne Motley, the figure responsible for transforming the Calgary Herald into an attack dog for the oil and gas industry.
This same structure will be replicated across Postmedia-owned newspapers in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The Province, the Citizen, the Herald, the Journal will now be in essence the Sun, Sun, Sun and Sun, respectively.
None of these corporate-backed media chains were ever known for their progressive views. But it’s bad news for democracy when Canadian news ownership is even more concentrated than in 2012: when Canada ranked first place in the G8 for concentrated media ownership.
Finally, on this side of the border, some specifics on a notable shutdown of a cable news network from TVNewser:
Winding down an entire cable news network takes time–and plenty of paperwork. When Al Jazeera America announced earlier this month it would end operations in April, hundreds of employees learned they would be losing their jobs.
The mechanics of laying off a workforce estimated at around 700 people across twelve U.S. bureaus includes government-mandated reports that must be give at least 60 days notice of layoffs. The first of those reports was filed in New York State the day of AJAM’s January announcement on January 13, giving 90 days notice.
The New York Department of Labor filing discloses that 197 employees will be laid off, beginning as early as April 13. In the filing, Al Jazeera lists the reason for the layoffs as a “plant closing.”
And finally, via Mediaite, terrorism in the newsroom:
The backlash is mounting against Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer for a horrible joke she attempted to make recently at a companywide meeting, and now many in her presumably deflated workforce fear for their jobs.
Mayer reportedly told the company that there will be “no layoffs… this week,” and although her comments were intended to be humorous, many who call the tech giant home are left wondering about their employment status within the company. “This is the reason employee morale is so low,” said one employee to the New York Post, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution.
According to reports, the comment in question from the CEO came at a January 8 meeting known as the “Friday FYI”. Mayer has served as President and CEO of Yahoo since June 2012, though many have questioned the direction of the company under her leadership.