Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Memo

It is no secret what media conglomerate bean counters can do to the morale of newspaper employees.

The profitable Quebecor is now working overtime on squeezing the life and spontaneity out of its print media holdings.

A reliable tipster sent us the contents of a memo circulated at a Quebecor broadsheet newspaper in Ontario this past week. It takes us back to our frugal years at Thomson newspapers.

The TSF tipster said "any names (in the memo) have been redacted."

The memo:

Taxi/Cabs – Refrain from using. Effective immediately any such invoices will not be processed. I suspect there may be some instances where there is taxi use language in our collective agreements and cancelling will be more problematic. In these cases – we have to be extremely prudent in when and how we use this service.

Flowers: Refrain from using. As per our discussion earlier this week – there may be some exceptions, i.e. funerals.

Competitors’ Newspaper Subscription – once contract expiry is reached do not renew.

Cable/Satellite TV – Cancel all. Divisions should cancel immediately. Once we receive the final invoice we will pay all outstanding balances. Any invoices received for services beyond March 2009 will not be processed.

Shredding services- Cancel. Effective April 1 any such invoices will not be processed. With centralized accounting and finance (in most cases) the amount of shredding required should be minimal and done locally.

Yellow Pages – Cancel immediately.

Cheques under $100.00 – Avoid. In cases like freelance articles, the central business offices are attempting to gang invoices together until they total $100.

Associations – With the exception of OCNA, and the Canadian Media Circulation Audit service conducted by CCNA, we are to cancel industry association services. Fee-for-entry association awards should be monitored close.

A number of our community dailies continue to support the National Newspaper Awards through what appears to be a sponsorship fee that is generally paid out quarterly. NNA should be given notice by the local applicable papers that we will be discontinuing immediately.

End of memo.

A few thoughts come to mind.

Re holding payments until $100 is reached: What freelancer in his or her right mind files anything for under $100?

Re cancelling cable and satellite: How many newsrooms have rabbit ears for TV viewing during major breaking news? And what about high speed Internet in the newsrooms? Nyet?

Re cancelling Yellow Pages: Isn't Quebecor in the Yellow Pages printing business?

Re cancelling competitors' newspapers: Sure, scalp whatever you can from their Internet sites.

Re flowers: Funerals, but no births, weddings or other special events speaks volumes for Quebecor's frame of mind.

Newspaper associations: Who needs them? They only bolster the spirits of newsrooms with their annual awards and mentoring.

Taxis: Let them take public transit in a pinch.

Shredding: Employees in the pre-Quebecor years would chuckle at this memo before shredding.

It is crystal clean that print newspapers are irrelevant in Quebecor's empire and they are just being nickel and dimed to death on the slow and agonizing road to their demise.

1 comment:

  1. Canadian Press services will be coming to an end at most papers, I'll guess, by the end of the year.

    At our office, the current deal with CP expires in July and we've been told to give them a six-month notice that we won't be renewing.

    Once CP is gone, then you'll see a huge hole in news coverage in areas Sun Media doesn't cover.