Vancouver daily paper business deemed 'unsustainable'
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:59PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 2, 2013 6:57PM PDT
With the public increasingly turning to online news sources, Vancouver’s two daily print newspapers are facing a revenue crisis.
Last month the Vancouver Sun and the Province saw a reduction of 100 employees through voluntary retirements, totaling 17 per cent of overall staff.
The request was brought to staff in a memo from the newspapers’ president Gordon Fisher, in which he called the business unsustainable. He ended the memo with “we are all fighting for the future of the Vancouver Sun and Province.”
Fisher explained a major issue surrounding print news is free online news sources, which have led to a hit to traditional ad revenue as advertisers move online as well.
Since the staff reductions, Fisher has admitted it’s taking a toll. Two full floors in the Sun and Province buildings downtown are now empty and seeking new tenants after the reductions.
"Morale is not great here right now. Of course not. I mean, every day you read about the death of our business,” said Fisher.
But Langara College journalism instructor Ross Howard said if print disappears, the bottom falls out of the entire system.
"Print has tended to set the standard. T.V. has been broad but can't do it all,” said Howard.
Foreign correspondent Jonathan Manthorpe is one Sun reporter who took the voluntary retirement.
He spent 50 years reporting in the industry, but is now changing the course of his career after travel resources have all but dried up.
"That may be simply because we're in the middle of a revolution and when we come out of the revolution things will change. Revenues will change."
Fisher says if the current trend continues, it’s not impossible to think of the closure of these century old institutions. Manthrope maintains that a new revenue model will come as everyone in the business is facing the same problem.
“It will come but there may be a fair few car crashes on the way to redemption I'm afraid."
With a report by CTV British Columbia’s Rob Brown