Nova Scotia

Chronicle Herald president vows paper is moving on as strike continues

The president of the Chronicle Herald says in a letter to readers that the paper is adding "national award-winning journalists" and deepening its coverage. The union says the paper is losing the public relations battle.

President Mark Lever says paper is deepening coverage and hiring 'national award-winning journalists'

The Chronicle Herald's newsroom staff are on strike. (Blair Sanderson/CBC)

The president of the Chronicle Herald says it's time for the newspaper to move on as a strike by newsroom staff nears the end of its fifth month.

"It is unfortunate we are at this impasse," Mark Lever wrote in a letter to readers published in Monday's paper.

"The newspaper industry is in transition, moving from a print past to a digital future with all the complexities and risks this transition entails."

The union and management attempted to resume talks last week but they failed.

'Irresponsible and perilous'

Chronicle Herald workers have been on strike for nearly five months. (CBC)

Lever said in his letter that accepting union contract proposals would be "irresponsible and perilous."

He wrote that over the coming weeks, the Herald would be deepening its coverage of issues, including the future of the navy and solutions for Nova Scotia's doctor shortage.

Lever said the paper would be adding "national award-winning journalists to our team," but did not identify them.

The Halifax Typographical Union, which represents striking workers, said it sees Lever's letter as a sign of problems for the paper.

"There may be some problems with readership and circulation and they're trying to reassure readers that they've turned a corner and they're even talking about this new and improved copy they're going to include in the newspaper," union vice-president Frank Campbell said in an interview Monday afternoon.

"But to me it tells me that maybe the newspaper's hurting."

Public relations battle

Campbell said the Herald is waging a losing public relations battle. The union continues to picket outside the Herald's main office and occasionally pickets businesses that continue to advertise in the paper.

Both sides indicate a willingness to resume negotiations but no talks are scheduled.

CBC News reached out to Lever for comment but received no reply.