At company-wide meetings held late this afternoon, Postmedia Network, the largest newspaper publisher in Canada, announced it is cutting editing positions at several of its largest city dailies and will stop printing paper editions on certain days.
This change is similar to recent announcements from the Denver Post (reducing copy editors) and the New Orleans Times-Picayune (stopping print editions on certain days). Journalism school professor and Postmedia adviser Jeff Jarvis tweeted today in response to the news (which he says he did not know in advance):
1.5 dozen daily papers in NAmerica are no longer daily. How fast will this trend spread?
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) May 28, 2012
Postmedia hasn’t issued a public statement, but media reporters in Canada, including The Globe And Mail’s Steve Ladurantaye, began tweeting the news from the 3 p.m. meetings held in cities including Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.
The company announced it will no longer publish Sunday papers in Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa. (The Gazette in Montreal previously cut its Sunday edition.) In Canada the Sunday paper is the smallest, rather than the largest, edition of the week. The Saturday paper is king in Canada.
The National Post, which does not publish on Sunday, will not publish a print edition on Mondays during the summer. This has been the case over the past three summers, but the internal company memo obtained by The Huffington Post Canada states that the company will “look closely at its publication schedule going forward.”
Postmedia is also cutting a significant number of jobs from its newsrooms. This is in part to enable it to move print page production to a centralized facility in Hamilton, Ontario. That means a lot of copy editors will lose their jobs.
Numbers have not yet been confirmed across the chain, but The Ottawa Citizen and the Gazette in Montreal are each losing more than 20 editing positions. (The Citizen has 105 people in its newsroom, according to its managing editor.) Other papers are also losing jobs.
“While the changes we have been making are about creating the company we need to be, it also means changing the way we have done many things in the past,” reads the company memo. “While some areas are expanding, some roles across our operations will be eliminated.”
This is the second time this month Postmedia has announced job cuts. In early May, it eliminated 25 jobs when it ceased operating its own national newswire and signed a contract with Canadian Press.
The company is carrying more than $500 million in debt and lost $11 million last quarter. (All figures in Canadian dollars.)
Correction: This post originally and incorrectly stated that Postmedia’s Saskatchewan paper, the StarPhoenix, had cut its Sunday edition. It did not have a Sunday edition.