Metro newspaper skpic

Metro newspapers will cease print publication in Regina, Saskatoon and London, Ont., on Friday. The company says 25 employees are being laid off. (CBC)

Three of Canada's free daily Metro newspapers will publish their last print editions on Friday and 25 employees will be laid off in the decision to focus on larger markets.

Star Media Group says Metro papers in Regina, Saskatoon and London, Ont. will cease production as it looks towards areas of the country with the "greatest potential for Metro."

Spokesman Bob Hepburn says all of the cities will continue to operate web versions of the dailies.

He added that a single reporter will be based in each of the cities. An editor will be posted in London while another will oversee both editions in Saskatchewan.

Star Media, a division of Torstar Corp., says it fully supports the decision, which was recommended by Metro's senior executive team.

Media companies have been grappling with eroding print advertising revenues and a shift in readership away from traditional newspapers. All of the country's big media companies have been scaling back their staff and reworking operations to focus more on their websites.

The Canadian Press is jointly owned by Torstar and the parent companies of the Globe and Mail and Montreal's La Presse.