5 jobs axed as SaltWire merges central Newfoundland newspapers

"There's not a plan to shut down," SaltWire Network's CEO said a year ago.

The Central Voice replaces 4 others, begins publishing Aug. 1

The Beacon is one of four newspapers that will no longer be published. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Five people are out of a job because four central Newfoundland newspapers are being folded into one.

SaltWire Network, which publishes the Halifax Chronicle Herald, announced the restructuring Friday morning. 

The company bought all of Transcontinental's news outlets in P.E.I, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador last year.

Central Newfoundland will be served by a new — and free — publication, The Central Voice, starting Aug. 1. 

The Pilot, The Advertiser, The Nor'wester and The Beacon all published their last editions on July 26.

The region will be served by The Central Voice as of Aug. 1. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The buildings that housed the newspaper operations will close Aug. 11. 

Despite the job cuts, the president and CEO of SaltWire Network says the new publication will feature "more in-depth and extended coverage."

"This includes stronger local coverage, editorial content and more space for community organizations to submit and share their good work," said Mark Lever in a media release.

Company had said 'not a plan to shut down'

Friday's announcement follows a decision in June by SaltWire, which owns The Telegram, to ditch paid subscriptions of the Carbonear Compass in favour of free distribution — a move that also resulted in one job loss. 

Company representatives said the move would boost circulation to over 10,000 — up from the current 4,000 paid subscribers. 

That building was also shuttered and staff have been working out of their homes since early July. 

When the deal between SaltWire Network and Transcontinenal was announced in April 2017, Lever said he saw it as an opportunity.

"There's not a plan to shut down," he said at the time.

"This is a growth story, I can't stress it enough."

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cecil Haire and Daniel MacEachern