Not a very Merry Christmas for laid-off reporters at EMC, Metroland

The closure of Ottawa’s community newspapers in the Metroland family is such an affecting situation that the Canadian Association of Journalists has issued the following press release.

“The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned that community newspaper amalgamations in Ottawa and area will lead to job losses.

The concern stems from the recent decision by Metroland Media Group Ltd. to close six community newspapers that had been serving the communities of south, west, east and central Ottawa along with Nepean and Barrhaven. The closures come after Metroland purchased Performance Printing Ltd., which publishes newspapers in the same communities.

There could be further closures ahead as these were not the only communities where both Metroland and Performance have publications.

“Closing a newspaper means extinguishing a voice within a community that people could turn to for news and information about their neighbourhoods,” CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. “Metroland’s aggressive entry into the Ottawa region in the last few years added new voices to the mix and brought competitiveness to community news. It’s unfortunate the chain is now killing off some of the papers it launched in its drive to consolidate operations.”

The CAJ understands the business rationale behind these consolidations, but is now concerned for the journalists whose newsrooms have been amalgamated. It encourages Metroland to keep its stated commitment that the positions from the closed newspapers will be moved to its remaining newsrooms.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing almost 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.”

All staff at both operations, as a condition of severance, have been told not to say anything to anyone regarding the buyout. Only the Citizen reported on it at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Metroland+closes+Ottawa+weekly+papers/5875031/story.html

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