Friday, 30 July 2010

SONG & points

SONG president Brad Honywill has words of caution for non-union Sun Media employees in a new blog posting about newsroom performance points.

Honywill says "Sun Media has embarked on a chain-wide project to measure the productivity of its employees that, in a journalistic environment, is both chilling for employees and potentially damaging to the business."

His lengthy look at newsroom performance points includes this comment:

"Thankfully, Sun employees who are protected by a union don’t have to fear losing their jobs, or suffering some other kind of punishment if they find themselves on the south side of a benchmark. Non-union employees may not be so lucky."

Worth a read.


  1. As a non-union employee I have been assured by management that the points system in no way will be used to measure individual performance. It is supposed to measure overall newsroom performance.
    Yeah right, and monkeys will fly out of my butt.
    I, and others I have spoken with, do not trust this system at all and don't believe for a second that it won't be used against us at some point in the future.
    I think the company needs to find even more creative ways to demoralize employees who are already on the edge of losing what little sanity, patience, pride and dignity they have left

  2. Nah, don't worry.... just write 8 stories per day, get no more than one source, or none, in every story and you'll be able to effortlessly speed report and collect (8 stories X 5 points each) 40 points per day!!!!!!!!!

  3. I would imagine that non-union employees should probably have no problem racking up a ton of points, considering the staffing levels at most of the non-union papers, which I gather are mostly on the smaller side of Quebcor's holdings. When you have a paper with one or two reporters, it's got to be a given that those reporters are already producing super human amounts of copy, or else the paper would be full of holes.

    Maybe the real danger is that Quebecor would look at how much their most overworked employees are producing, and demand that all staff meet the same levels. Or maybe they'll look at their bigger papers, where reporters are writing two or three stories a day, and then at some small paper where they're averaging five or six, and figure that the big paper is overstaffed and another round of layouffs would be a great idea

  4. 11:25 a.m., you are probably correct in your latter prediction. Having been a member of a union newsroom, about in the middle of the pack, but terminated anyhow during editor consolidation and creation of "editing centre of excellence," obviously union protection isn't a given. Those over-performing journalists at the smaller papers will ensure a new round of layoffs for the "overstaffed" bigger papers, and more consolidation of regions to ensure full coverage (!) for QMI.

  5. Since when does Quebecor give a rat's behind about quality? It's a quantity-driven business model that has nothing to do with producing great journalism and everything to do with squeezing every last dime out of the business model. And if it squishes a few employees along the way, c'est la vie.

    Is this really the best that a Canadian media conglomerate can come up with? Points? What an embarrassment. What a farce.