Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Star's 117th blow

Updated re Star management comments in CP story
The Toronto Star turned 117 today, but instead of cake, it announced plans to outsource 160 jobs, including 100 newsroom union editing positions, says a CNW Group press release.

All employees have been offered buyouts, says the press release.

A Canadian Press story says employees have until Nov. 30 to apply for the voluntary buyouts, with Star management making its final decision Dec. 7.

The CP story says employees learned of the company-wide buyout offer in a memo from publisher John Cruickshank.

The memo said the broad reworking of the company "will affect every job in every corner of the organization" and could include layoffs.

The Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild calls it the largest outsourcing in Canadian newspaper history.

"It's bad enough that the Star is turning its back on its own Atkinson principles to shed loyal employees," said Star union head Maureen Dawson. "Star readers will be shocked to hear that core aspects of its daily journalism, that vital role in our society, are now to be farmed out, likely to foreign interests."

The union's press release says 100 editing jobs represents about a third of the newsroom at 1 Yonge Street.

"This isn't outsourcing, this is another example of one of our big media companies abandoning good-paying Canadian jobs," said Peter Murdoch, CEP's national vice-president (media). "The national union will be supporting every effort to protect these good jobs."

Happy 117th, Toronto Star. Shades of Sun Media's Black Tuesday last December. Merry Christmas greetings from PKP, along with 600 pink slips.

What is being lost with newsroom outsourcing and job cuts is the gathering and mingling of newspaper minds. Dedicated editors noting errors and challenging content. Feedback. Personal touches and professional pride lost to uncaring bodies far, far away.

The Toronto Sun's badly botched street map assembled outside of 333 was a classic example of the fallout from detached workmanship. And that work was done in Ontario, not India.


  1. Well-said, except maybe it should say dedicated editors, not senior editors. There are good editors of all ages and experiences.

  2. Huh. QMI is next to announce that little bombshell. They've been testing MediaSpectrum's enterprise application server software for almost two years now at Canoe HQ.

  3. Absolutlely ludicrous. Big dailies might as well just shut down now, save themselves millions, and let community papers take care of delivering hyperlocal news on a community by community basis.

    Oh wait, that's not the Sun Media way. Looks like it's not the Toronto Star's way either.

    Anoter sad day in Canadian journalism.

  4. I'm sure that the Star will get over this quickly, but I cancelled by subscription last night. It's really the only way I know to protest what will undoubtedly be another blow to editorial quality.
    The Star will retain, no doubt, good editorial talent, but they'll do so without my help.

  5. Readers from all markets need to step up and say NO to outsourcing, regardless of the newspaper or company. It's been said before but if advertisers and readers continue to do business with these newspapers they are going along withe the flow. Hit these comapnies where they will feel it, in the bank book! I personally will no longer read Toronto Star or Sun, local paper will be next if they slash jobs again.

  6. Readers boycotting papers over layoffs will only lead to more layoffs. Talk about a vicious circle.

  7. Get rid of the damn websites and stop giving everything away for free...that's one area all papers should sit down and agree upon. The web is killing the industry and no one has come up with a magic formula to generate top dollar on the web.

  8. With the website issue, I think smaller papers that focus primarily on local news shouldn't be giving content away on the web. My neighbours tell me they cancelled their subscription once the paper started putting everything on its website.

    Bigger papers that cover the same national story, let them keep their sites. Small papers are the ones suffering with free-for-all on the web.