Petition urges Postmedia not to cut 25% of Montreal Gazette newsroom staff

By News Staff

More than 1,300 people have signed a petition asking newspaper publisher Postmedia Network Corp. to reverse its planned cuts at the Montreal Gazette.

Postmedia is reportedly planning to lay off 11 per cent of its editorial staff, according to leaked audio from a January meeting. The company employs about 650 journalists across the country.

Some figures circulating suggest the Montreal Gazette would be hit particularly hard, with a planned cut of nearly 25 per cent of its newsroom.

That led to the creation of the “Friends of the Montreal Gazette” petition. It launched Wednesday with a target goal of 1,500 signatures.

“We are dismayed to learn Postmedia has singled out The Gazette unfairly with a planned cut of nearly 25 per cent in the staffing of its newsroom – this, after the newspaper has been downsized repeatedly over the years,” the organizers of the position wrote.

“The intended cut at The Gazette is far in excess of Postmedia’s announcement last month that it will be laying off 11 per cent of its 650 editorial employees across the country.

“Should Postmedia proceed with the editorial layoffs at The Gazette, the newsroom would be reduced to about 30 employees – clearly an insufficient number of journalists, photographers and editors to cover a metropolitan region with a population of more than four million.”

The organizers are urging Postmedia to reverse the cuts at The Gazette “before it’s too late.”

The petition was addressed to the Gazette’s editor-in-chief Bert Archer.

In a Twitter thread Saturday, Gazette journalist Aaron Derfel praised some French-language newspapers in the city for speaking out against the Montreal Gazette cuts.

He also pointed to some French comments on the petition as a sign of a “bridge between the two solitudes” – French and English.

The leaked audio from a Postmedia meeting received by The Canadian Press on Jan. 24 suggested the latest cuts were about aligning cost structure with revenue stream.

The news of job cuts came days after the company warned staff in a memo that an unspecified number of roles would be eliminated across Postmedia over the coming months through hiring restrictions and layoffs.

At the same time, it announced it was moving a dozen of its Alberta community newspapers to digital-only formats, eyeing more outsourcing deals for printing, laying off workers and selling the home of the Calgary Herald.

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