Friday, 19 December 2008

Layoff forum

Updated 08/01/09
A forum for words of comfort and support for the most recent layoff casualties, either individuals by name or collectively. Or comments in general.

Blog comment from Gerry Nicholls re Linda Leatherdale

Blog comments re loss of Linda Leatherdale, Scott Morrison

From Linda Fox, a comment posted by the former TorSun vet

"In all the years since I left the Sun (2001), I have never been moved to make a comment on this site . . . until now. Pierre-Karl should be hoisted on his own petard.

"Of all the times of the year to do this. I feel a great deal for Linda Leatherdale, whom I have known for years, and although I didn't know Derek Tse well, I knew of him at the Star when I was there on contract. Pity he went back to a lost cause and that, sadly, is what the Sun is.

"Back in 2001, Pierre-Karl concentrated on getting rid of all the old hacks, such as myself and anyone else who dare to reach the age of 50. Now it seems anyone is fair game as a lot of the names om this sad list are nowhere near that age.

"I don't know why they just don't put the Sun out of its misery instead of this death by a thousand cuts. Shameful and shameless. The Grinch has nothing on Quebecor.

"Linda (thankfully retired from the ruthless world of publishing)"

Dennis Earl, outspoken as ever, has been commenting on the layoffs and the aftermath on his The Writings of Dennis Earl Blog.

Numerous posts on re Black Tuesday

Comments on the forum include: "We escaped any cuts at our little weekly, but a couple up the road in the chain lost some editorial staff. I have to think there would have been revolts here if they cut anyone from us, as we're running at full capacity as it is, and have been growing steadily over the past couple of years. One of the little notes we got in our pep talk: 2009 Christmas bonus, already canceled. Yay!"

Toronto Sun pink slip practically destroyed reporter

"I just wanted to add to the voices of those who had once worked for Sun Media only to find themselves jobless after a round of layoffs.

"I'll keep the details to myself, but suffice it to say that I was practically destroyed after getting my pink slip a few years back.

"After working diligently in tiny rural newsrooms, then in smaller city dailies, finally getting hired as a reporter at the Toronto Sun was a dream come true. I'd learned that those 15-hour days, Christmas shifts and coming in on my weekends was worth it.

"I moved to Toronto, eager to pick up my happy life and start somewhere new.

"Then came one round of layoffs. Then another. That's when I was cut.

"It's a hard thing, working for something for nearly a decade only to have it snatched from you by some penny pincher.

"I didn't realize how much going to work at 333 King Street East every day mattered to me. I knew I'd been devastated by the loss, but it was more than just a job. Being a reporter was my identity. You don't simply punch a clock doing this. I was always seeking out story ideas, calling in tips to the newsroom, working overtime.

"I felt betrayed, having had put my faith in this industry to be as loyal to my hard work as I'd been to their organization.

"I don't know if I'll ever go back to being a reporter. My former colleagues are now writing press releases, working in other industries. I've bounced through a couple jobs, but never fell in love the way I had with the feeling of a satisfying day's work as a journalist - getting that witness, an exclusive, a front page.

"To those who've been laid off: good luck. There's a tough road ahead."

From a Toronto Sun writer who has been there:

"Reading what went down at the paper last week was downright heartbreaking! And when I discovered that I know quite a few of the people who were let go, I was even more saddened. I find it incredulous that a major daily in such a big city does not have any full time music writers!

"I know how the people who were laid off feel because I was laid off in December ’01. You feel lost, sad, angry, but you try and keep your spirits up and hustle to find a gig.

"I can relate to the person who said he/she was quitting journalism after being laid off. A year ago, I decided to switch careers because I see print going the way of the music industry.

"I wish all the people who lost their jobs the best of luck landing on their feet. I am sure that they will."

A Craig's List posting gives TorSun the 2008 Scrooge of the Year Award:

By Mike: "The Toronto Sun at Xmas Time has dumped Linda Leatherdale. This is so insane. At a time when tough times are coming and she can help give good advice to survive these times, they remove her? The Toronto Sun wins the Scrooge of 2008 award and I will never buy their paper again without Linda in it. She is my sunshine girl."

Re comment about laid off Sun Media employees should launch online paper:

"It looks like a whack of good talent got their arses kicked to the curb. Why don't you all get together and start your own online newspaper. Be tough at first, but it could be done."

Re comment about the St. Catharines Standard layoffs:

"Reportedly, editorial cuts were supposed to be seven at the St. Catharines Standard, but one part-time copy editor had just given notice two weeks earlier, and a part-time reporter had left the newspaper within the previous year, saving two positions. It didn't seem to matter how many hours were worked by these people, it was just about the body count."

Re a comment about the timing of the 600 layoffs:

"Most of my former colleagues who were laid off must still work to the end of the year. I suspect PKP needs the layoffs to kick in on Dec. 31 to suit his books, and the two weeks notice means no pay in lieu of notice.

"Sorry, you're laid off, but can you come in and work Christmas Day?"

Re a comment about Sun Media and its Quebec newspapers:

"Le Journal de Quebec was on strike for 16 months, and Quebecor was just last week found guilty of violating that province's labour laws during the strike. I think PKP knows not to mess with that paper right now.

"Le Journal de Montreal might go on strike in the new year. I bet PKP is rubbing his hands with glee thinking of all the salary expense he will save during a strike."

Paul Chivers' update re North Bay Nugget's six layoffs:

"I was chief photographer with almost 28 years service and my last compatriot was Denis Dubois (over 15 years). That's the end of a once-proud 4.5 person (photo) department.

"As to local photos, that will increase the load on the already over-taxed three-way reporters, along with (I'm speculating here) increased reliance on 'community journalism' and freelancers."

Paul says also gone are Mark Sandford, the page editor; Vic Levesque, a 48-year maintenance person just a few months shy of retirement; Tammy Brunet, a long-serving ad department worker and single mother, and Frank Gurini, the manager in the ad department, who announced his departure earlier this year.

A posted comment re Maryanna Lewyckyj's review of third-quarter profits:

"I thank Maryanna for looking these figures up and sharing them. As a Sun Media worker, I think she hits the nail on the head when it comes to the frustrations being felt at this time.

"There seems to be a clear message from the upper echelon that the time has come for all employees to buy into their 'new world' ideas and, in some ways, say goodbye to print media.

"Yet, as she proves, newspapers still carry their weight quite nicely. For those with print in the heart, the next few years are going be painful, for sure."

From John Iaboni, former Toronto Sun sports writer:

"I can't believe what's happening to our Sun and its chain. Only wish I had the financial resources and financial pull to take it over and make it a fun place like it used to be."

An NPAC clarification from Derek Ruttan, London Free Press photographer:

"I'm not dead . . . yet. As Dave Chidley mentioned, I received a last minute reprieve from the gallows when Ken Wightman took a buy-out. Ken will now and forever be known as "The Governor."

"Thanks to everyone who e-mailed and called. It means a lot to hear from friends at times like this. My deepest condolences to the other 599, especially the photo staffers. A lot talent and years of service tossed away.

"Management keeps telling me that their decision was not personal and they are happy that I'm not leaving. How do you kick a guy in the gut and then have the gall to tell him that it's not personal?"

A posted comment from Dave:

"I wish the best of luck to all the fellow Sun Media people who were victims of Black Tuesday."

One of the layoff casualties:

"Fuck Sun Media for ruining my dream, my life, my passion. I'm quitting journalism because of this man (PKP) and these people he employs."

Sean McCann, former veteran Toronto/Calgary Sun staffer:

"Maybe the brilliant "NO! NO! NO!" headline would have been more appropriate for Black Tuesday."

John Cosway, former Toronto Sun vet:

"While all of the layoffs were heartbreaking, it saddens me to see Linda Leatherdale, the Toronto Sun business editor, exit the building after a couple of decades of unwavering loyalty and hard work without an exit column or published thanks for a job well done.

"It is just wrong, as it was wrong for many other vets to leave without farewells and a word of thanks in print.

"You are a gem, Linda. CP business stories will never replace the amazing rapport you had with readers in fighting the good fight, be it gas prices, bank charges, credit card interest rates.

"Freedom 55, the hard way. Hang in there, Linda. There is life after the Sun."

A Peterborough Examiner staffer writes:

"I work at the Examiner and am so disheartened to see good friends and co-workers lose their jobs.

"In a time where Sun Media is pushing for more web-based product, we lose two editors who are very tech/web savvy, while several longtime editors nearing retirement remain (guess Sun Media didn't want to fork out severance packages). Many of us are still scratching our heads on the decisions.

"James (Neeley) and Laura (Mueller) are two very strong, dedicated reporters and it's a loss to the newsroom and our readers. I hope they get back on their feet soon.

"As well, there is talk the Examiner is going to be cutting back on the number of pages early in the new year, meaning less space for local content.

"This week, our newsroom has been in a zombie-like state . . . morale is at a low and I expect it will be like that for some time."

From a 2007 Toronto Sun layoff casualty:

"Hi guys, I was one of the cuts back in 2007, going into my 20th year. I was originally hired in the 80s and knew then I could retire here, it was such a special place. Well sadly, that was not to be.

"I knew back in 1999 when they (Quebecor) bought us, this was not going to be good. Some of us wish the Star would have bought us . . . at least then, you had a chance.

"Well, as most of us would tell you newbies to the layoff world, you will get on your feet again . . . that’s a guarantee. It will hurt like an angry bitch for a long time, because we think of the “good ‘ol days” at the Sun, when we would have worked for free and LOVED going into the word factory.

"Go over to Crook’s or Betty’s for a drink . . . throughout the day. Hell, we even had a bottle or two at our desks!

"Keep your memories because we must carry on . . . like a loved one who has passed on, we remember all the good times.

"I still go out of my way to drive by and have a look at the old place and the mural that is so much the character of the Sun. I will always miss that place.

"Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all."

Name withheld on request.

E-mail your words for layoff victims to Layoff Forum.


  1. I wish the best of luck to all the fellow Sun Media people who were victims of Black Tuesday.

  2. I am a former Sun employee who may or may not currently work for a competing free daily. The stripping down of the Sun started before I even worked there, and put a sour taste in my mouth when I did. But I must say that it's got nothing on the reality of my workplace. You've still got a few writers left. I've got nothing except a shrinking freelance budget and wires. And actually, I don't have wires either. We are restricted from using CP/AP outside of Toronto. You try and build a quality paper with that. The fact is, the bean counters everywhere long ago forgot about news value. It used to be 'get it first, then get it right,' now it's 'fill the holes for our advertising delivery system.'
    It's the reality everywhere, some places worse than others.

  3. I worked for Sun Media for 29 years, starting very young, didn't think I'd last that long but certainly not expecting to be laid off and my whole dept. wiped out. I was counting the years til I reached 65 but alas that was not to be. It is hard finding a job at my age, apart from the fact that a lot of people are in my position, so jobs are few, I wish to thank all the people that treated me with dignity and respect, my friends who will forever be in my heart and I won't forget them.

  4. I just walked past the Sun building where the delivery trucks used to pull up for bundle dispatching. The IDAB system is gone and the interior is empty. It is being disassembled. I just noticed this blog and thought I would comment.

    I worked in newspaper Distribution up until 1996 both part-time and full-time. The company was going thru a downsizing and I asked to be dismissed. Being dismissed was the better choice. I collected a vacation pay, Christmas Bonus, and a letter of recommendation for the next employer. Unemployment benefits were received quicker while looking.

    My employment with the Toronto Sun gave me more experience into the distribution supply chain networks of the plastic and garment industries. Both industries continue to upsize instead of downsize.

    What happened? I can only guess and gleam from blogged entries.