This blog is less than a year old, so I don’t have much raw data to evaluate long-term trends. But the past few months seem to have hit all of Quebec’s mainstream media simultaneously, with most of them announcing cuts in the number of journalists they have on staff.
Individually, none (except maybe troubles at TQS) is a major turning point for an organization, but taken together a trend appears to be emerging.
- CBC brings back a one-hour evening TV newscast to Montreal after budget cuts forced it to hand victory to CFCF. Though it’s good news, the new one-hour newscast doesn’t come close to regaining the ground the station lost when it cut the 6pm newscast down to 30 minutes.
- Editorial employees at the Journal de Québec are locked out by management who want to impose a new contract. Press workers immediately strike in solidarity, and both work together to produce an alternative free daily newspaper that is still publishing. The Journal is still going, put together by management, but the content is coming from the Journal de Montréal (reluctantly) and wire services (including one apparently setup solely to exploit this situation).
- Montreal’s “multicultural” station CJNT switches to a mostly-celebrity-gossip format, keeping the bare minimum of foreign-language programming as required by the CRTC (a limit they tried to have reduced).
- CKUT Radio McGill loses access to its funding over a dispute about using “McGill” in its name.
- La Presse’s workers union orders employees to stop blogging as a pressure tactic. Their contract doesn’t include provisions for blogging, and the paper isn’t offering any additional salary or overtime for the activity. The exception is Patrick Lagacé, who has a separate contract for his blog.
- Global TV announces 200 layoffs across Canada, but concentrated in the east. The Quebec City and Sherbrooke bureaus are toast, and local newscasts will be replaced with “virtual sets” controlled by master control centres in Toronto and Western Canada. It’s unclear how this will affect programming at Global Quebec, since they’re already at their bare minimum of 18 hours of regional programming a week.
- TQS announces cuts of 40 jobs across the province to get skyrocketing debt under control. It also offers itself up for sale, but nobody bites.
- The Gazette offers another round of buyouts to editorial staff, seeking to reduce its numbers by about 20. It loses some well-known columnists as a result.
- Astral Media takes over Standard Radio and does a laughable job convincing people that CJAD, CHOM and Mix 96 won’t be affected at all.
- Newspaper circulation numbers come out, and fourth-place Le Devoir is the only newspaper to have its numbers go up.
- TVA cuts 15 full-time jobs in Quebec City.
- CTV News Montreal declines to renew the contract of weatherman Frank Cavallaro.
- CHOM FM loses star Terry DiMonte to a Calgary station after DiMonte gets an offer he couldn’t refuse and CHOM refuses to match it.
- With nobody willing to buy the deficit-ridden network, TQS files for bankruptcy protection.
- Info 800’s potential new owners plan to cut what few journalist jobs are left at the station and focus more on sports.
- Radio-Canada cuts a journalist job in Quebec City just as its 400th anniversary celebrations are starting.