The Gazette to eliminate 23 positions
Published Tuesday, May 29, 2012 2:24PM EDT
MONTREAL - Canada's largest newspaper chain is restructuring, and that's bad news for employees of the Montreal Gazette.
The order has come down to eliminate 23 jobs from the daily newspaper, either through buyouts or layoffs.
Irwin Block, a journalist at the newspaper and vice-president of one of its unions, says it will be tough for young reporters.
"There are a lot of very talented, very hard-working younger people who are low on the seniority list, and if it does come to layoffs, last in first out is the rule in an unionized environment," said Block.
Right now the Gazette employs 113 people on what is called its editorial side -- those responsible for writing, editing and selecting stories and photos, so the cuts amount to about 20 percent of the newsroom staff.
Some tasks currently done in Montreal such as page layout and headline writing will be diverted to a national hub in Hamilton.
Similar moves are being made at Postmedia newspapers across the country.
Three papers, in Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa, will no longer publish on Sundays -- something the Gazette gave up several years ago.
The overall goal is to devote more attention to the online edition of the newspaper.
"We're trying to stay ahead of this," said Gazette Publisher Alan Allnutt. "We're trying not to find ourselves in the position where we're losing money, and have to do even more desperate measures."
Block is not sure how it will work out.
"One of the managerial staff announced that the news hole, the part of the paper that has news content... will be reduced by 35 percent," said Block.
One thing is certain: many jobs at the newspaper will be rearranged, and people will be expected to take up new duties.
"The weekly paper is going to be redesigned. There's going to be a whole new look to it," said Block.
"It's hard to imagine how we're going to have the same amount of local coverage with 20 percent fewer staff."