Four and a half days after they were locked out of the Journal de Montréal (too much time for the impatient Patrick Lagacé), 253 unionized workers launched their competing news site, RueFrontenac.com at a press conference at 2pm Wednesday.
In a welcome message, Raynald Leblanc says the union was willing to negotiate about increasing the work week and moving toward multimedia. But they wouldn’t stand for the elimination of entire departments (the Journal wanted to outsource accounting) and the laying off of dozens of staff.
Sports has its own welcome message from Mario Leclerc. And Marc Beaudet is doing cartoons. It’s also continuing the Journal tradition of screaming “exclusive scandal” on stories that don’t sound particularly scandalous.
The site is based on Joomla, and definitely could use a bit of tweaking (Arial as a body typeface? Would it kill you to use serifs somewhere?), especially in the design of individual articles, but it’s a start.
In other Journal news
- Rue Frontenac quotes an anonymous 24 Heures journalist who it says quit because his stuff was being used in the Journal de Montréal.
- La Presse does the rounds and updates the list of Journal freelance columnist scabs. They include:
- Gilles Proulx (who called the workers spoiled brats) and Louise Deschâtels are still thinking.
- Patrick Lagacé comes to fellow Franc-Tireur Martineau’s defence, repeating the argument that the unions do nothing for freelancers, so why should freelancers cut themselves off for the union?
- ICI has lost columnist Michel Vézina, who refused to sign a new freelance contract unless it said his texts couldn’t be used in the Journal.
- An anonymous blogger who says (s)he’s one of the locked-out workers takes a nuanced approach to the vast differences between the two sides: The conditions are extremely generous, and the work week should increase, but the workers are still deserving of support. Another blogger takes a dim view of the Journal in general and freelance scabs in particular.
- The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec is denouncing politicians who refuse interviews to scabs, saying it’s not their place to decide which journalists to talk to and which ones to ban.
- Steve Proulx opines about what the Journal dispute really concerns, with some history about Quebecor’s acquisitions leading to its media empire. Employees aren’t opposed to convergence, they just want to keep the Journal’s identity.
- Martineau and Leblanc will both be on Tout le Monde en Parle this Sunday.
- Radio-Canada’s Christiane Charette had a journalist analyst panel on this morning’s show. It included Steve Proulx, who links to the interview.
… and so goes Godwin’s Law.