Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Déjà vu

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 12/17/2008
Our friends north of the border are now experiencing what thousands of Gannett employees went through just a few weeks ago.

Sun Media, Canada's largest newspaper publisher with operations in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and elsewhere, announced Tuesday that it is cutting 10 percent of its workforce as a result of "harsh economic conditions," per the Canadian Press.

That amounts to some 600 layoffs, proving that the newspaper industry's troubles are not just limited to the United States.

The CP quoted Sun Media CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau as saying in a release: "The news industry is being revolutionized and we have to adapt if we want to remain an industry leader."

Similar to the independent Gannett Blog, which chronicled the Gannett cuts, the Toronto Sun Family blog is telling the story of these latest media layoffs.

According to the Toronto blog, President of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild Brad Honywill said of the layoffs: "I don't think Toronto's, or, for that matter, North America's, media landscape will look the same after this recession. We're going through a fundamental shift that will result in fewer sources of news and less and less depth."

Honywill continued, "Increasingly, stories will be shared across chains, diminishing local voices [...] So these cutbacks represent a real loss to the community and to our democracy."

It's so sad to see the newspaper industry come to all of this, and I feel deeply for all Canadians affected by these cuts. I have a particularly close eye on all things Canada with my paternal grandfather's family being from there, and having many cousins in the country still. This hurts.

Once again, we can blame the economy in terms of how rapid this media collapse has been. However, this was bound to happen eventually - the economy is just speeding up the process. It's a new world out there with the Internet, and so much free content available to consumers online. The need for a new business model is more urgent now than ever before. Now is the time for the news industry to act.

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