Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Chatham voice

The Chatham Daily News has an Editorial/Opinion piece today advising readers how last week's layoffs at the newspaper will affect its content.

Written by Bruce Corcoran, managing editor, it mentions a loss of two people in the newsroom, but not by name and there are no "thanks" to the departing employees, but it does advise readers of changes to be made.

It reads:

"These difficult economic times have affected most everyone lately, including those of us here at The Chatham Daily News.

"You may have noticed smaller papers than at this time last year, due in no small part to a great deal less advertising, from local and national advertisers. It's a sign of the times as the auto companies aren't advertising as often as they did in the past, while merchants are cutting costs and not placing ads in the paper as much.

"It's a similar story across the country. As a result, Sun Media laid off about 600 people last week, including a number here. Among the local cuts, The Chatham Daily News lost two people in our editorial department. We were running pretty lean as it was, and now we will be forced to make changes in how we cover Chatham-Kent.

"We will continue to try to cover as many events as possible, but there will most certainly be happenings that we just won't be able to attend.

"As well, several of our community features will soon no longer appear in our paper, beginning in January. Included are the weekly Flashbacks feature and Religious Roundup. We urge churches to utilize, the community side of The Daily News website, to continue to promote upcoming church events and weekly gathering information.

"Due to the smaller news holes in the paper, and staff cutbacks, our caring and sharing photographs, of organizations and individuals donating to various charities, will be affected as well. We will no longer be publishing in our newspaper any cheque pass pictures for totals less than $10,000. In fact, we will no longer take such photos, but do encourage organizations to take their own pictures of such cheque passes between $1,000 and $9,999 and e-mail them to us at We will post them in the photograph portion of the URChatham-Kent.caside of our website.

"We will continue to photograph cheque passes of $10,000 and above, and publish them in our paper.

"Other mainstay features such as community calendar will remain. We ask that whenever possible, for people to please e-mail their material to us, again at

"Through all this, please bear in mind The Chatham Daily News remains your best source for local news in Chatham-Kent. In fact, we're getting the news to you sooner, with our website at, we are posting news as it happens. There is no faster way of getting your news.

"We are also putting material up on the Internet that you just can't get in the newspaper. The Daily News is posting video on a daily basis, from human interest to hard-hitting news."

The piece includes Corcoran's e-mail.

The Chatham Daily News, one of the Osprey Media newspapers picked up by Sun Media in 2007, gave this blogger his first reporting job in 1963 when it was a Thomson newspaper.

While the Toronto Sun had its Windsor Mafia, with a steady flow of Windsor Star reporters and editors being hired, the Globe and Mail had its Chatham Mafia.

The late Bob Turnbull, one of the Globe's Chatham Mafia, guided me and others to Chatham to earn their dues as cub reporters and we are forever indebted to the former city editor.

Those 16-hour days for $27.50 a week and all of the service club lunches and dinners you could handle while learning the ropes were invaluable.

Sadly, a new generation of print journalism hopefuls across Canada are losing the opportunity to work at community papers like the Daily News due to skeletal newsrooms.

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