Sun Media cutting 600 jobs

Quebecor-owned Sun Media said Tuesday it is cutting 600 jobs in Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada, citing soft revenues and a shift toward free digital content.

Quebecor-owned Sun Media said Tuesday it is cutting 600 jobs in Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada.

The company said the cuts, which are mainly expected to be made by the end of this year, work out to about 10 per cent of the workforce, excluding mailroom staff.

Sun Media blamed the cuts on the effect the soft economy is having on its print media revenue, coupled with a shift toward more free content on the internet.

"The speed at which the current economic environment is deteriorating forces us to make difficult decisions at this time of the year," said Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor.

"This decision in no way changes our commitment to our publications, our readers and our advertisers," he said in a release.

Brad Honywill, the president of CEP Local 87-M in Toronto, which covers more than 700 Sun employees, said he is concerned the cutbacks will damage Ontario's media.

"These cutbacks mean there will be more and more shared stories and, consequently, less local news," Honywill said. "It's our hope, and Sun Media's responsibility, to restore these jobs when the economy improves."

The company said the cuts are expected to result in restructuring costs of approximately $14 million.

Sun Media has 43 paid-circulation and free dailies in Canada's major urban markets, plus more than 200 community newspapers, shopping guides and other publications.

The cuts are the latest to hit the Canadian media industry.

CanWest Global has announced the elimination of 560 jobs, while CTV has cut 105 positions. Rogers Communications has also reduced its staff in its media division.

Newspaper cuts hit Detroit

In another example of pain in the newspaper business, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News announced plans to reduce their home delivery service.

The Free Press will be delivered Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays commencing in March. The News will be delivered Thursdays and Fridays. The two papers publish Monday through Saturday, and the Free Press has a Sunday edition.

The union representing workers at the papers said the two publications also plan to cut nine per cent of their workforce. The companies have not presented any figures on staff cuts.

The Detroit Media Partnership, which includes business and editorial operations for the News and Free Press, has 2,151 employees.

With files from the Associated Press, Canadian Press