Regina Leader-Post loses 8 newsroom staff to buyouts

The Regina Leader-Post is losing more than 20 per cent of its newsroom staff through voluntary buyouts.

Loss represents more than 20 per cent of newsroom

There will be eight fewer people contributing to Regina's only daily newspaper. (CBC)

The Regina Leader-Post is losing more than 20 per cent of its newsroom staff through voluntary buyouts.

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. announced plans in October to cut staffing costs across the country by 20 per cent: First, through voluntary buyouts, then possibly layoffs.

Eight people in the Leader-Post newsroom, including reporters, photographers and senior editorial staff, have taken buyouts, representing more than 200 years of experience in journalism.

A union spokesperson says the staff members will not be leaving simultaneously but will be done by the end of this year.

"Every time we think they've cut to the bottom, they always find a new bottom and they cut further," said Martin O'Hanlon, Canadian president of Communications Workers of America.

"Anytime we lose journalists, it's bad for the newsroom, it's bad for the newspaper, it's bad for the community, it's bad for democracy."

No word on buyouts at Saskatoon StarPhoenix 

Postmedia owns several newspapers from British Columbia to Quebec and in between, including the Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

The StarPhoenix newsroom is not unionized. CBC could not confirm how many, if any, voluntary buyouts had been issued. 

CBC could also not confirm how many people outside of the newsroom at the province's two major newspapers have received buyouts.

Break the chain, union says

O'Hanlon said the only way to combat the constant cost-cutting by Postmedia is to break up the newspaper chain.

"We really hope Postmedia will consider selling off its individual papers," he said.

Alternatively, O'Hanlon said the union hopes the federal government will step in to break up the chain, referring to it as a "virtual monopoly" on newspaper ownership within Canada.

Postmedia has said declining advertising revenue and lower print circulation revenue are to blame for the most recent cuts.