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Postmedia lays off staff; Vancouver Sun/Province combine newsrooms

Last Updated Jan 19, 2016 at 11:32 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – 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 Vancouver Sun and Province are combining newsrooms, though the two newspapers will continue to operate under separate brands.

In an internal memo to staff, the company in addition to Vancouver, news will also be covered by a single team each out of Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton.

“We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets,” Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said in the memo. “What is changing is how we produce these products.”

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.

Stephanie Coombs announced on Twitter her departure as managing editor of the Edmonton Journal.

Editor-in chief Margo Goodhand is also leaving the newsroom.

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.

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.

The reality is that all the information will be coming out of one newsroom, he said.

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.