Postmedia, my employer, posted its year-end financial results today, which includes a $100-million quarterly loss and a bunch of other numbers that don’t look good.
For those who don’t have a financial stake in Postmedia, these numbers may not matter to you. But more significant for people in the media industry is the company’s response: It wants to cut its total payroll by 20%. After implementing changes over the past year, including staff reductions, that reduced its operating expenses by $75 million a year, it’s doing the same again, cutting a fifth out of its $361-million payroll.
Assuming the cuts are evenly spread, this would mean Postmedia losing about 800 of its 4,000 employees at newspapers including the National Post, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun/Province and lots of smaller papers.
The company plans to do this in part through a voluntary buy-out program, which means I may lose some more colleagues. And I’m not 100% reassured that my own job is safe.
This is only the latest triple-digit staff reduction to come to a Canadian media giant in the past decade. Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, CBC and others have also made significant cuts, which increases the supply of journalists in the marketplace and makes it harder for others, particularly young people, to find jobs in the field.