Layoffs at 3 TorStar papers

The Hamilton Spectator, the Guelph Mercury and The Record in Waterloo have all announced a series of staff layoffs.

A total of 64 jobs are being cut in reaction to decreasing advertising revenues. All three papers are a part of the Metroland Media division of TorStar.

According to a report in the Spectator, the Hamilton paper is laying off 35 people across the newspaper. The Spec layoffs equal about 7 per cent of the paper’s workforce and affect jobs in editorial as well as circulation, advertising, production and business.

Spec publisher Dana Robbins said:

“We’re confident these reductions, while painful for our team, can be accomplished in a manner that will be invisible to our readers and advertisers. There is not a company in Hamilton that is not facing similar circumstances. When our community suffers, The Spectator suffers, and that’s what we’re seeing.”

The Record is eliminating 21 full-time jobs, and publisher Paul McCuaig told the Canadian Press that ten jobs were cut from the newsroom.

Thirteen jobs were cut at the Mercury and the paper announced that it has notified the staffers who are affected. According to a post on the Canadian Association of Journalists listserv, the Mercury layoffs include: one photographer, one reporter, one full-time paid intern, three copy editors, one sports editor, one lifestyles editor and opinion page editor from the editorial department.

Publisher McCuaig said:

“The fact that we are among the very last media organizations in Canada
to take this step says something about the tremendous effort the entire team
has put into finding alternatives to staff reductions.”

Local 87-M of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), which represents unionized newspaper employees in southern Ontario, issued a press release in reaction to the layoffs.

Brad Honywill, president of the Local said in the release:

“Combined with the number of employees who recently took voluntary
severance packages at Metroland, this represents a major cut to news
operations serving readers in southern Ontario. That inevitably affects the quality of news gathering that takes place at our newspapers, and that affects the ability of our citizens to be educated on what’s happening in our communities and, consequently, the health of our democracy.”

TorStar announcement follows the most recent layoff announcements from The Globe and Mail, Transcontinental Inc., and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.