Quebecor's Sun Media closes newspapers as ad rev dries up

(Reuters) - Canadian media and telecommunications conglomerate Quebecor Inc’s Sun Media Corp cut 360 jobs, for the second time in less than a year, and said it was closing eleven newspapers to cut costs amid falling ad revenue.

Canada’s largest newspaper publisher cut about 8 percent of its 4,000 odd workforce, Quebecor spokesman Martin Tremblay said.

Sun Media, like other publishers, said it is working on strengthening its digital platform as advertisers flee the print medium and consumers ditch subscriptions in favor of digital access for their smartphones and tablets.

Canada’s Torstar Corp, the owner of Toronto Star, cut 105 jobs last quarter and said it plans more cost cuts this year. The company cut 260 jobs in 2012.

Sun Media closed eight community newspapers and three free dailies on Tuesday. The company said its free dailies -- the 24 Hours newspapers -- will no longer be circulated in Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. The company now has 36 paid newspapers, 192 community newspapers and three free dailies.

Warren Buffett shuttered a Virginia newspaper last year, just six months after his company scooped it from Media General Inc, a sign that even publications that are laser-focused on community news are facing challenges.

CWA Canada, the union that represents workers at several Sun Media newspapers, came out strongly against the job cuts.

Sun Media expects the latest cuts to save about C$55 million ($53 million) annually. The company had cut 500 jobs in November to save about C$45 million.

The community newspapers to be closed are the Lindsay Daily Post, the Midland Free Press, the Meadow Lake Progress, the Lac du Bonnet Leader, the Beausejour Review, le Magazine Saint-Lambert, le Progrès de Bellechasse and l’Action Régionale in Montérégie.


Sun Media’s Toronto Sun newspaper appointed Wendy Metcalfe, as editor-in-chief on Tuesday, replacing James Wallace, who resigned on Monday.

“(Wallace’s) resignation was already planned,” Tremblay said, adding that it was not related to today’s job cuts.

Metcalfe is the regional content director at Sun Media for the Niagara-Southern Ontario region.

(This story is corrected in headline to remove extraneous word)

Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel