Friday, 10 September 2010

Bottom line blues

It's all about the bottom line.

Item 1
A TSF tipster says PKP has closed Sun Media's Dresden, Ontario, pagination centre just three months after determined employees got their first contract in the Sarnia Observer's bargaining unit. Cheaper, non-union paginators in London and Woodstock will be doing the work.

"For anyone else, this is a new low," says the tipster, "but for Pierre-Karl PĂ©ladeau, this is more of a new middle. The digital Christmas card a week after mass layoffs is still his all-time low."

Item 2
All of Sun Media's Niagara-area dailies went with one of those annoying front page ad wraps recently. "The problem with the wrap-around," says a TSF tipster, "was the back part of the page was used as a news page so you couldn't tear it off and throw away."

Says another tipster: "I don't think I need to say anything about what this does to the credibility of the editorial product. It is made worse because they kept the St. Catharines Standard's masthead and index on the page. In fact, above the fold, the ad (for a grocery store chain) looks like a news feature of some kind. The news content for Page 1 was pushed to Page 3. Needless to say, it has become clear the phrase 'rock bottom' no longer applies to those of us still at the paper."

Item 3
Welland Tribune readers were treated to a photo of Natalie McMaster playing her violin and no doubt thought it was snapped during the evening Welland performance. A TSF tipster says due to Sun Media's very early deadlines, the photo was taken during Natalie's afternoon sound check.


  1. Regarding the Dresden pagination centre, PKP praised it as a great place just a year ago and at one time Sun Media considered expanding its operations there because they consistently met deadlines. One could speculate that it's revenge for joining a union. The excuse that the workers were given is that the London and Woodstock centres didn't have enough work.

  2. All of this is dis-heartening. When I first came across this site I was pleased. It was uplifting to find a community that still cared about standards in the newspaper industry. Unfortunately, I think the contributors to this site are voices crying out in the wilderness. There was a time when industry "leaders" listened to the voice in the wilderness, because it was their job to so. Now, industry "leaders" are only interested in bonuses and pay packages.

    I haven't worked in the newspaper industry as long as many - I have only worked in it for around 20 years. In the past two decades, however, I have witnessed a distinct decline in standards in the industry as a whole.

    I have sat at board meetings where senior executives have been more interested in the quality of the food that was served than the business being discussed. I have seen exceptional employees tucked into quiet corners and incompetent ass-kissers promoted. I have seen the exodus of talent and witnessed quality newspapers turned into glorified flyer carriers.

    Some bright and rising stars left in disgust to work in other industries. They are the ones who are smiling. Those who remained at their posts were rewarded with layoffs or were forced to see the newspapers they worked at and had pride in turned into cat litter box liners.

    I'm not sure how much longer I can remain in an industry that is being systemically cannibalized by delusional management. I can only hope that an industry "leader" finally comes along that is willing to listen to the voices crying out in the wilderness.

  3. Re: Dresden pagination.
    The folks there have maintained their sense of humour. One of the paginators recently sent this clip to staff of papers with which the pagination centre works: