CanWest cuts newsroom staff

Hello? Hello! Is anybody reading this stuff? Does anybody care? Or are Canadians
— and the Canadian journalists who ought to be especially concerned
here — really a bunch of
sheep? Comment, already. If you won’t/can’t scream, picket or write to
your MPs, for Pete’s sake at least comment — just click the mouse
and comment.

Too afraid of hurting your journalism career to
speak out? Hey, I’ve got news for you: we’re losing journalism — let
along your pathetic career. See below:

Amid more cutbacks at CanWest newspapers, a union files a formal complaint to the CRTC arguing that the company is in breach of its broadcast licences.

The new cuts hit especially hard in Vancouver where 20 to 30 jobs will be eliminated —  and where the company has a near-monopoly on news. Earlier, CanWest had announced 200 jobs would be lost at broadcast operations across Canada.

Below are reports from the Globe and Mail and the Tyee. A search of the Vancouver Sun website turned up no reports about CanWest’s job cuts — which I say is a news story of major public interest and which would be reported by an ethical media outlet. Shame.

Vancouver’s two daily newspapers are cutting newsroom staff as the owner of The Vancouver Sun and The Province transfers work for both publications to Hamilton in a companywide bid to reduce costs. — The Globe and Mail.

Ahead: Fewer news jobs, more news ‘platforms.’ — The Tyee

Work Outsourced from Sun, Province Newsrooms — The Tyee

Here’s the response to CanWest’s cuts to broadcast operations, from Canada’s largest media union, in a Nov. 9 press release:

OTTAWA, Nov. 9 /CNW Telbec/ – CanWest will be in breach of its broadcast licences if it moves ahead with plans to centralize its Global television operations without CRTC approval, says Canada’s largest media union.

    The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada today filed a detailed complaint to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission outlining a series of breaches of both CanWest’s licences and the Broadcasting Act, if CanWest’s centralization plans go forward.


    Murdoch says CanWest is slowly eroding local news across the country through centralization at both its broadcast and print divisions. Having just announced it would be laying off 200 people at its television stations, CanWest is now also cutting editorial jobs in a number of its newspaper newsrooms across the country.

    “These cutbacks by CanWest at its newspapers and broadcasting stations are the result of high levels of media ownership concentration promoted by the CRTC, actions which federal inquiries and parliamentary committees have been warning about for decades. Sadly, the Harper government is not only unconcerned but appears to condone the control of our media by foreign interests.”

    Murdoch says that it is not without significance that CanWest is reducing its newsroom workforce at the same time that it is trying to cement a deal with a large American investment house to buy Alliance Atlantis.

    “The CRTC needs to tell CanWest clearly and directly that it can’t buy a new property by ignoring the commitments it has made to Canadians and the CRTC in the past about its existing licences. If the CRTC doesn’t act, then it is moving away from being an independent agency that serves all Canadians and the public interest, and closer to becoming an arm of the stock exchange.”

An earlier Townhall post puts the cuts in context, including with excerpts from the scathing Senate report on media concentration.