Tag Archives: Cyberpresse

La Presse to pay its bloggers

Via Patrick Lagacé, La Presse’s union has ratified an agreement that will allow La Presse journalists to return to blogging and harmonize La Presse and Cyberpresse journalists.

Among the details of the agreement, according to Michel Dumais:

  • Pay equity between La Presse and Cyberpresse workers, including eight years of back pay for underpaid Cyberpresse workers
  • Extra pay for print journalists who blog
  • Print journalists can now take video, but only when a photographer is also taking photographs at the same time.
  • Print journalists will no longer be forced to file breaking news stories for Cyberpresse and articles for La Presse (really?)
  • Journalists keep copyright over their work, which is being sold back to Cyberpresse for a symbolic fee.

Hopefully this will set a precedent for other unionized papers in Quebec who are facing similar problems with journalist multitasking.

UPDATE (March 21): Tristan Péloquin has returned to blogging.

Local newspaper union news

La Presse: According to Michel Leblanc, an agreement in principle has been reached between the union and employer, which will remove the disparity between newspaper journalists and online journalists, and would bring back the blogs that were suspended in September, including that of Tristan Péloquin (remember him?). No word yet from official sources. Patrick Lagacé confirms, saying there will be a general assembly on March 19 for union members to approve the deal.

Le Journal de Montréal: Steve Proulx quotes Le Trente that a strike (or lockout?) is on the horizon, because the manager-to-employee ratio is high. JdM employees are paid generously (so much so that my colleagues were shocked to hear pay rates for equivalent jobs there), and Quebecor might look toward building on the “success” of the Journal de Québec. (See some analysis by Julien Brault) (UPDATE March 5: Proulx has an update based on statements from some anonymous sources within the Journal)

Le Journal de Québec: Tomorrow, the 10-month-old lockout/strike will set a new record for a labour dispute at a French-language Canadian newspaper, eclipsing the previous record set by Le Soleil in 1977. (The irony, of course, is that the Journal itself owes much of its early success to that very dispute.) Mario Asselin is starting to lose his zeal for the fight.

The Gazette: Also management-heavy in preparation for new contract negotiations this spring, the paper has decided to lay off 46 employees in its Reader Sales and Service department, transferring call centre operations to a centralized centre in Winnipeg as of May 30. The union is fighting the move, calling it a violation of a contract clause against outsourcing. (UPDATE March 5: The layoffs have been put on hold while arbitrators sort out the union issue.)

Cyberpresse putting up 360 photos

Cyberpresse (which just started playing music on my laptop without permission) is putting up 360-degree photos on its website: already one of a snowy Gilford St. shovelling on de Mentana St., and a truck accident on Cremazie Blvd.

It’s just another example of how big media companies like Cyberpresse understand the Internet and are prepared to use cutting-edge 1994 technology* to bring things that are cool but uninformative to users. (The last picture is particularly apt at showing the weaknesses of the technology: a truck accident is shown from only one angle — it’s great that I can see out in different directions, but I can’t see the other side of the truck.)

*Actually, it’s a Flash-based emulator of cutting-edge 1994 technology, but otherwise indistinguishable from Quicktime VR (right down to the unintuitive navigation).

Cyberpresse bloggers shutting up

One of La Presse’s unions has sent its members a notice asking them to stop blogging on Cyberpresse as a pressure tactic. As a result, bloggers Sophie Cousineau and Marie-Claude Lortie have stopped their blogs with notices explaining why. Both are regular columnists who will continue their columns as usual.

Unaffected by this is star blogger Patrick Lagacé, who explains that he’s under a specific contract to do his blog (unlike other journalists who blog as part of their regular journalistic duties). Tristan Péloquin has a post about it as well, but it’s unclear if he’s stopped blogging or he’s just pointing out the situation.

The local union news blog has more details on the situation.

This isn’t the last we’ll see of this. Employees at the Journal de Montréal are already arguing over online rights to their articles. And as media outlets start expecting journalists to blog, shoot video and do other “online extras” as part of their regular duties (and without extra compensation), we’ll be seeing a lot more of these kinds of disputes over the next few years.

UPDATE: Heri and Steph have some interesting comments on the issue, but they seem to miss the main point: Unionized employees are being told to perform duties outside of their collective agreements, and for no additional compensation. Say what you want about Cyberpresse’s approach to blogging, but these aren’t personal blogs being updated out of the kindness of their hearts. It’s work, and employees deserve to get paid for it.