Just two weeks after Postmedia killed its in-house wire service, laying off around 25 journalists, the news organization held short-notice staff meetings at their newspaper offices across the country to announce more cuts. Staff will be laid off, there will be a centralization of services, Sunday papers will be cut in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton and a paywall will be going up for access to their websites. The National Post will stop publishing a Monday edition during the summer and also put up a paywall.
All of this means less access to news and less local coverage. Postmedia will be centralizing some copy editing and page layout, which will provide content to all of its network papers, meaning there will be national and wire coverage and less time and room for local.
The country’s other national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, will also start charging for online content this summer.
Newspapers may have waited too long to make these changes, now that they have an audience that is used to getting information for free and shrinking budgets that won’t help them to deliver interesting and innovative content that will encourage readers to take our their credit cards and pay to read more.
Cuts also mean fewer journalists doing more work, which is bound to lower quality — exactly the opposite of what the newspaper industry needs right now. It’s a vicious cycle.
All of these changes, the President and CEO of Postmedia said, are efforts to reduce their “print-related infrastructure costs,” but how much can you cut infrastructure without hurting the public interest?
Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes