Editorial positions are being cut at the Ottawa Citizen and other Postmedia news outlets.
Steve Ladurantaye at the Globe and Mail, citing unnamed sources said 20 positions are being cut from the Citizen’s editorial department and the paper’s website will go behind a pay wall as soon as possible.
Citizen reporter Garry Dimmock, tweeting with his handle @crimegarden said the paper’s Sunday edition is also being scrapped. The Canadian Press says Sunday editions will also be scrapped at the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal.
“Sadly, the Ottawa Citizen’s Sunday paper is being killed. Newspapers make the world go round,” Dimmock tweeted.
Reached for comment on the reports of the layoffs, Citizen editor-in-chief Gerry Nott said he would be available after 6 p.m.
La Presse reporter Christianne Desjardins tweeted that 23 positions are being cut at the Montreal Gazzette, while other reports say the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal staff were meeting this afternoon about layoffs.
Postmedia employees in at least one newsroom were told layoffs would not start until the fall.
The changes come as Postmedia tries to cut print-related production costs. Earlier this month, the publisher also decided to cancel an in-house wire service, Postmedia News, resulting in the loss of some two dozen jobs.
In a note to readers on its website, the Edmonton Journal said its last Sunday edition will be June 24. The Ottawa Citizen is scheduled to follow in mid-July and the Calgary Herald at an undecided date.
In a memo to staff, Montreal Gazette editor-in-chief and publisher Alan Allnutt said more than 20 editorial positions would be cut in the next few months.
“All roles, from managers on down, will be redefined with a digital focus,” said Allnutt, who added voluntary buyouts will be offered in most departments.
Postmedia owns the Vancouver Province, the Vancouver Sun, the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald, the Regina Leader-Post, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Windsor Star, as well as the Canada.com online news and information portal.
In its most recent quarter, Postmedia (TSX:PNC.B) reined in its losses, while a drop in business from national advertisers dragged revenues lower.
The Toronto-based company, formerly part of the Canwest media empire broken up in 2010, said its net loss was $11.1 million in the three months ended Feb. 29. That compared with a loss of $12.5 million a year earlier when it booked a $1.8-million loss from discontinued operations sold to Glacier Media.
Overall, revenues fell 7.6 per cent to $198.6 million, with the majority of the drop on weaker print advertising, which was down 10.6 per cent or $14.5 million.
As part of the changes, Postmedia will expand its Hamilton operations to handle the editorial production of newspaper pages.
The company will also rollout its metered paywall to websites in additional markets with the intention of expanding it across all of its network.
“When you see print advertising revenues declining, and … growth in online audiences, we certainly are looking to manage the costs of the print production and looking for ways to invest energy and resources in online,” Gelfand said.
-with files from Canadian Press