When I last checked out Paul Godfrey, Postmedia's Big Boss, he was cursing Justin Trudeau, and demanding money to bail out his sinking operation.And hisContinue reading
I wasn't sure I had enough material to write even a short post about day three of Andrew Scheer's Great Con Clown Tour of London.AndContinue reading
PHOTOS: Canada’s newspaper publishers are finally getting a grip on how to deal with this new-fangled technology stuff, like that Internet thing. Just pick upContinue reading
PHOTOS: Anybody recognize the clowns with the yellow signs? Inquiring minds want to know … and they say they’re prepared to pay good money toContinue reading
PHOTOS: Past and present at the Alberta Legislature. Progressive Conservative campaign vehicles may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Former MLAs Ray Speaker, a SocialContinue reading
I knew that the Postmedia boss Paul Godfrey is absolutely desperate, as his sinking media empire takes on more water, or debt, with every passing hour.But who knew that after turning Postmedia into a branch of the Con propaganda machine, that attacks …Continue reading
As you know the Postmedia empire is in big trouble. It's buried under a mountain of debt, it's running out of money, and its reporters have been forced to tailor their articles to please their bosses.If they attack Justin Trudeau they can keep …Continue reading
Ever since Paul Godfrey ordered his major Postmedia papers to run an ad on their front pages attacking the Liberals, there has been no doubt whatsoever which side that media conglomerate is on.And although the move was widely denounced, it seems that …Continue reading
PHOTOS: “Well, Fred, they used to wrap the grocery flyers in these things. They were called ‘newspapers.’” Below: Gerry Nott, senior Postmedia functionary, and Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister most hated by the Canadian newspaper ind…Continue reading
Another 90 dedicated journalists in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their jobs Tuesday as cutthroat Publisher Paul Godfrey slashed away again in an effort to turn Postmedia into a profit-making business.
In a bizarre move, two competing papers will continue to be separate entities, but there will be one set of editors and most journalists will be shared.
|Paul Godfrey – CEO Postmedia Corp|
In Vancouver, the Sun and The Province will come under one roof. In Edmonton, the Journal and the Sun will come together; in Calgary, the Calgary Herald and the Sun; and in Ottawa, The Ottawa Citizen and the Sun.
This latest maneuver, in effect, reduces the four cities to print media monopolies. Even as weak as the original Postmedia and Sun papers were, they still competed with each other. Now the same editors will assign reporters from both papers.
Competition Bureau screwed up
This fiasco is possible because the Competition Bureau was wrong in allowing Postmedia to buy the Sun chain less than a year ago. Godfrey had promised the Bureau he would run two separate chains, but this hybrid arrangement clearly violates the spirt of Godfrey’s promise.
Godfrey’s likely last move to try to save his flagging empire will see him close one of the papers in each of the four cities. Look for this to happen within a year.
Postmedia is losing millions each year because of the collapse of newspaper advertising. Meanwhile, the papers have failed to make a successful move to the Internet. Postmedia, which is controlled by American hedge funds, is carrying a debt of $671-million.
Martin O’Hanlon, president of the Communications Workers of America, said “This is not because these papers aren’t making money, this is because Postmedia has a massive debt. “This money that they’re saving by laying people off is going to hedge fund managers in New York.”
If Godfrey cared about journalism he would have been out of the field long ago. Anyone of integrity interested in good journalism would not have stayed around to see these papers turned into shells of their former selves. Maybe it helps that Godfrey commands a large salary, is a multi-millionaire and that, as a prominent (yet failing) businessman he can strut around town as though he is important. In 2014, when the company lost $263.4-million, Godfrey’s income was $1.7-million.
Media experts talk about the day when someone will come up with a formula for quality media to hold its own on the Internet. We’ve been hearing this for 10 years.
Canadians deserve better
While local communities still rely on the shrivelled remains of the once proud broadsheet newspapers, our cities deserve much better. In addition to the problem of the cuts, corporate-owned media in Canada censors or ignores important news. Officialdom commands their full attention, while unions, the climate crisis, and family issues are pretty much ignored. All Canadian papers except The Toronto Star supported Harper values during his ruthless run in Ottawa.
Because of their systematic censorship and support for damaging neo-liberal policies, we should not weep over the decline of Postmedia newspapers. But communities and all levels of government better wake up and get involved in re-establishing credible media.
Firstly, there are about 10 small, independent news sites on the Internet, ranging from iPolitics, to The Tyee to rabble.ca. None of them reach very many Canadians. I’ve been telling them that if they want to really serve the public, they should amalgamate or co-operate in some way. Among them they employ about 20 journalists. I have fundraising experience, and I know money could be raised for such a project. Nothing has come from my suggestion.
By the way, I’ve developed a model that I think would allow a community-owned, Internet-based news organization to become self-sustaining. If anyone is interested, please email me: email@example.com
I’ve berated progressive, experienced journalist for not getting out of the mainstream media racket and helping operate or set up media groups to serve their communities. But they’ve been beaten down so badly they don’t have any spunk left, let alone demonstrate a social conscience.
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is the one organization that could help lead Canadian journalism back from the wilderness. However, the CAJ has lost influence in recent years, and nothing on its website indicates it is concerned about the big picture of quality journalism in Canada being crippled.
If Canada were part of Europe, our mainstream media would probably be more healthy. Europeans read papers a lot more than Canadians. I recall a few years ago that the average Canadian read a daily newspaper once a week, while the average Dane read a paper every day. Those sales help cover more of the costs of European papers compared to fewer sales in Canada.
Some European governments, recognizing the importance of quality journalism, provide different forms of financial support for newspapers. Grants are either awarded to all papers or through a competitive process.
I’ve discussed this possibility of government support for media with Canadian friends, and most of them reject the idea. They say people wouldn’t want government interfering with our media. Hmmm . . . . it’s true that Harper interfered with the CBC but, even so, the CBC remains the best broadcaster in the country and it does a lot of socially responsible journalism.
Another 90 dedicated journalists in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their jobs Tuesday as cutthroat Publisher Paul Godfrey slashed away again in an effortContinue reading
Another 90 dedicated journalists in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their jobs Tuesday as cutthroat Publisher Paul Godfrey slashed away again in an effort to turn Postmedia into a profit-making business. In a bizarre move, two competi…Continue reading
PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal’s building in downtown Edmonton as it appeared today. Below: Margo Goodhand, Paul Godfrey (Toronto Star photo) and Stephanie Coombs. After a day of merger mania accompanied by brutal newsroom cuts at Postmedia’s daily n…Continue reading
PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal’s headquarters in downtown Edmonton, one of the Postmedia assets that still retains some value. Below: Departing Journal editor-in-chief Margo Goodhand and managing editor Stephanie Coombs. There’s already blood on the …Continue reading
Somewhere in the heart of the dilapidated Postmedia empire, its big boss Paul Godfrey must be growing increasingly desperate.Desperate to bring down Justin Trudeau, before Postmedia goes down like the Titanic.For how else to explain that his scrawny …Continue reading
Ever since Justin Trudeau defeated Stephen Harper, and sent him and his Cons packing, the mood in this country has improved beyond anything I haveContinue reading
PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal Building at 101st Street and MacDonald Drive in downtown Edmonton. It remains to be seen who will be Upstairs, and whoContinue reading
Earlier today, Paul Godfrey, the President and CEO of Postmedia Network Inc., attended at the Ontario legislature where he stood next to Patrick Brown, candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, to announce his endorsement of Brown. This is a moment that warrants some critical observations on the appropriateness of a major media CEO making such a public statement of support of a political candidate.
Here was the scene on the north lawn of Queen’s Park where, facing the legislature, the endorsement was rolled out:
Godfrey is President and CEO of one of Canada’s largest media operations. Indeed, this announcement occurs on the heels of the federal Competition Bureau having given the green light to Postmedia Network’s acquisition of 175 Sun Media newspapers. There is a public democratic interest that the Competition Bureau took into consideration when granting public approval over this expansion and the recency of that decision and his company’s expanded media footprint in Canada might give some executives cause for extra caution and care when considering such a political endorsement.
Further, Godfrey’s endorsement of Brown cannot help but be viewed without considering Godfrey’s recent history with the Wynne government. Recall that in the spring of 2013, he was removed from his position as Chair of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. That history informs his announcement today and bolsters a perception of an adversarial political context.
A President and CEO of a company is the chief spokesperson for that entity. A President and CEO doesn’t simply “run the business part of the newspapers,” as Mr. Godfrey stated today, but speaks on behalf of the organization. Herein lies the perceived conflict of interest in a media CEO endorsing a political candidate, and the importance of journalistic objectivity. A CEO speaks on behalf of, represents and embodies that corporation’s public and private dealings with its many stakeholders. It is quite difficult to unpack the chief executive’s persona from that of the corporate entity due to their position and the scope of their authority. This is why, as Postmedia Network’s Business Code of Conduct, provides – “Postmedia Personnel may participate in the political process as private citizens.” – there is a signalling implicit in Mr. Godfrey’s endorsement to his company’s journalists, customers and shareholders. In short, Mr. Godfrey is not speaking as a private citizen. CEOs rarely do.Continue reading