The Current

After massive layoffs, how can Canadian journalism survive?

The cuts in news media jobs and circulation are dominating the news this week. If a business model isn't working anymore, should we use public subsidies to save papers? We convene a panel to discuss how traditional journalism can survive.
Postmedia Network Canada Corp. owns major daily newspaper across Canada, including the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun. In early January, Postmedia announced it was laying off 90 employees, consolidating newsrooms across the country. (CBC)

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Print may not be dead yet, but the business of news has suffered serious wounds in Canada over the last couple of months.

Last week the country's biggest newspaper chain, Postmedia, announced it was laying off 90 employees and consolidating newsrooms across the country.

One of Canada's oldest daily papers, the Guelph Mercury in Ontario, announced it was ending its print publication entirely.

And the country's biggest paper, The Toronto Star, announced the week before that it would cut costs by mothballing its printing presses.

The financial hardships hitting news media are nothing new, but the cuts seem to be getting closer to the bone — and, some would say, endangering the health of our democracy.

In the wake of these cuts, what can, or should, be done to save jobs in Canadian journalism? If the news is a vital part of a healthy democracy, should it be publicly subsidized? Or, as some have argued, should newspapers and broadcasters rethink their business model that the market will support?

The Current has convened a panel to discuss how traditional journalism might survive. Guests in this segment:

  • Lorne Gunter, columnist with the Edmonton Sun.
  • Romayne Smith-Fullerton, associate professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University. 
  • Marc Edge, professor of media and communication at University Canada West.

This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman, Ines Colabrese and Julian Uzielli.