MEDIA ADVISORY – CWA Canada urges Postmedia to invest in quality, not slash jobs


OTTAWA – CWA Canada is urging Postmedia to follow the example of legendary billionaire investor Warren Buffett and invest in quality journalism rather than slash yet more jobs.

Postmedia revealed today that it is cutting dozens of editorial jobs at some of its newspapers as part of broader plan to improve its financial outlook. The company continues to struggle with declining print advertising revenue and a heavy debt load.

CWA Canada, the union that represents journalists at Postmedia newspapers the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and Regina Leader Post, maintains that cutting jobs is the wrong strategy and will only make things worse in the long run.

“We understand that Postmedia is facing financial challenges, but we believe the company can only turn things around by investing in its product rather than by cutting jobs,” CWA Canada Director Martin O’Hanlon said. “If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that cutting jobs only hurts quality, and that does nothing to attract readers or generate revenue.”
O’Hanlon said Postmedia should borrow a page from Buffett who is busy buying newspapers and committing to quality journalism.

O’Hanlon also emphasized that the cuts carry a big personal and community toll. Dozens of fine journalists will soon be out of work, hurting them, their families and the communities in which they live and contribute.

CWA Canada is the country’s only media-specific union, representing nearly 7,000 workers at companies such as the CBC, The Canadian Press, Reuters, and newspapers coast to coast.

For more information, contact:

Martin O’Hanlon
Director, CWA Canada
(613) 820-8460

Bleak day for journalism’ as Postmedia slashes dozens of jobs


Postmedia is slashing dozens of editorial jobs at the Montreal Gazette and Ottawa Citizen, which will also cease publication of its Sunday paper in July.

“It’s a pretty bleak day for journalism,” said a dispirited Debbie Cole, president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, which will lose 20 members to buyouts and layoffs.

Martin O’Hanlon, Director of CWA Canada, which represents journalists at the two targetted newspapers as well as the Regina Leader Post, said cutting jobs is the wrong strategy and will only make things worse in the long run.

“We understand that Postmedia is facing financial challenges, but we believe the company can only turn things around by investing in its product rather than slashing jobs,” O’Hanlon said. “If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that cutting jobs only hurts quality and that does nothing to attract readers.”

“It’s interesting to note that while Postmedia focuses on cutting costs to service a huge debt, (legendary investor) Warren Buffett is busy buying newspapers and committing to quality journalism.”

In a $142-million bet on the U.S. print industry, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is buying 63 daily and weekly newspapers from Media General.

In a letter to publishers and editors, Buffett said newspapers will be successful if they do a good job of covering their communities and producing local news that cannot be found on the Internet.

Postmedia, meanwhile, continues an austerity program that began shortly after purchasing the bankrupt Canwest Media newspapers. CEO Paul Godfrey, in a memo circulated today, said even more editorial production will be done at the company’s facilities in Hamilton.

This means, said Cole, that copy editors are likely to take the brunt of this latest round of cuts.

“This isn’t just bad for our members. It’s bad for the paper,” said Cole. “If you don’t invest in your product, how are you going to sell it?”

O’Hanlon said in a news release that such job cuts carry a personal and community toll. “Dozens of fine journalists will soon be out of work, hurting them, their families and the communities in which they live and contribute.”

Winners of Belcarz-Zeidler bursaries write about chemistry, social justice


Two university students at opposite ends of the country are the winners of this year’s Belcarz-Zeidler Memorial Scholarships.

Stephanie Rufh, the daughter of Gord Rufh, a member of Local 30403 who works at the Victoria Times-Colonist, chose chemistry as the topic of her essay, which is also her field of study at her home-town university.

Rosamund Tutton, of Dartmouth, NS, the daughter of Canadian Media Guild member Michael Tutton, is an engineering student at St. Mary’s University in Halifax. Her essay argues that social justice derives from personal understanding in small group settings.

The $1,000 bursaries, established in 2010 in honour of union activists John Belcarz and Dan Zeidler, are intended to aid in the personal development and enrichment of those to whom they are granted. There were 26 applicants this year.

Here are excerpts from the winning essays:

Stephanie Rufh

“My course of study is incredibly important to me because it gives me a new perspective on the universe, it is a central science and the basis for all life and chemical systems… Everything is built of atoms and molecules, and so the study of chemistry is crucial to the understanding and analysis of nearly everything.”

“When anyone looks at the world … they see it macroscopically, only observing what is at the surface and on a visible scale. However, there are so many more layers to the universe than this. When I look at the world I see this big picture, but I also see waves, rates of change, mathematical models of systems, forces of attraction and repulsion, and so much more.”

“Every day I am exposed to new ideas and experiences that let me see the world differently and connect the dots between the many fields and disciplines of science. The growing amount of research and thus the impact that chemistry has on the sustainability of the world and its inhabitants fascinates me, and I am very excited to be a part of it.”

Rosy Tutton

“Social justice begins with the premise that each individual has the basic rights to achieve a physically and emotionally healthy lifestyle. However, it can only be fulfilled when we fully value the qualities of fellow human beings through our relationships to them. … the first step towards such a society is often made through participation in small groups where we learn sharing, compassion and mutual respect for people with diverse gifts.”

“The criticism is sometimes raised that personal involvement in a social justice mission, whether it be a soup kitchen or food bank, is promoting a charity that excuses governments from properly funding the supports in needed community services. However, it is often from these environments that the advocates for changes to systems in our society emerge and support for policies that assist the poor and weak in society find their most passionate advocates.”

“To create noticeable change, individuals must share the desire for a common goal. Similar to building a bridge or putting up a school, a common good is understood, identified and created. Although the interest of every individual in the group may not be exactly the same, they can unite around such projects.”

New links added to ONG website –

Helping Canadian Workers Stand Up For Their Rights

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Who Needs Help?

Many Canadian workers don’t know their rights at work and don’t know where to get help.

When a problem occurs with their employer they are left alone to fend for themselves. They feel powerless and disrespected and may think their only option is to shut up or look for another job.

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When the appropriate information is found it can be a difficult and stressful task determining what action, if any, one can take if their employer is disregarding employment standards, human rights or safety legislation.

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The Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship helps bring adult literacy to the forefront

Award honours the late Peter Gzowski – broadcaster, journalist and devoted literacy advocate

Are you a journalist or journalism student with a strong interest in the adult literacy cause? Could funding help you undertake research and get your literacy story out to the public? ABC Life Literacy Canada is pleased to announce that nominations for the 2012 Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship are now being accepted online.

The fellowship is open to accredited media and freelance journalists working and residing in Canada, along with current journalism students attending an accredited post-secondary institution in Canada. The fellowship was created to generate discussion about adult literacy in Canada. The winner will receive $3,000 in funding to help in the research and development of a media story (print, online or broadcast) with an adult literacy-themed focus.

“ABC Life Literacy Canada is delighted to offer this fellowship and continue to honour Peter Gzowski’s legacy as a champion for adult literacy,” said Margaret Eaton, ABC Life Literacy Canada president. “Through the telling of dynamic and focused literacy stories, journalists help raise awareness of literacy in Canada and improve public understanding of this pressing cause.”

Full details including submission criteria and checklist, along with the online entry form, can be found at Story ideas and submissions are being accepted until 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

The 2011 recipient of Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship, Bowmanville, Ontario resident Valerie Mutton, examined the impact of low literacy levels in Canada’s family court system in her published article, Frozen moment of judicial compassion.

“I come at literacy from two perspectives,” said Valerie. “As a lawyer who sees the devastating financial and social costs of low literacy playing out in the courts each day, and also as a writer and speaker who loves language. I’m so honoured to be the recipient of an award such as this that will allow me to use my skills with the latter to bring attention to the former.”

The 2012 Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship winner will be announced on September 27, 2012 as part of ABC Life Literacy Canada’s evening of celebration, Life Literacy Night. The event will also feature the Dr. Alan Middleton Workplace Literacy and Learning Award, The Honourable Joyce Fairbairn P.C. Literacy Public Awareness Award, and The Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award.

Since 1993, the ‘PGLAM’ (The Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit) has been awarded annually to journalists including, Denise Donlon (MuchMusic), Peter Calamai (Toronto Star) and Sean Fine (Globe and Mail) among others, whose work has enhanced public understanding, support for, and awareness of the literacy cause. The Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship follows in the tradition of PGLAM.


TEXT-S&P revises Postmedia outlook to negative


(The following statement was released by the rating agency) Overview — We are revising our outlook on Toronto-based Postmedia Network Inc. to negative from stable based on the company’s weaker-than-expected operating performance in the second quarter ended Feb. 29, 2012. — We are affirming all our ratings on the company, including our ‘B’ long-term corporate credit rating. — The negative outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s view of the ongoing challenges Postmedia faces with revenue and profitability declines given difficult industry fundamentals.

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