Toronto Star publisher cuts newsroom jobs

Tue Aug 9, 2016 5:11pm EDT
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TORONTO Aug 9 (Reuters) - The publisher of one of Canada's biggest-circulation daily newspapers laid off 45 Toronto Star newsroom employees, according to a company memo sent on Tuesday.

Torstar Corp has been trying to cut costs as it struggles with falling advertising revenue. It slashed its dividend payout twice this year, outsourced printing of the Star and killed the print edition of a regional paper.

"We are today announcing further staff reductions affecting 22 regular employees, including 19 in the Toronto Star newsroom," acting Star publisher David Holland wrote in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

"In addition, 26 temporary staff will depart over the next couple of months, mostly in the Star's tablet operations," added Holland, who is also acting head of the Star unit at Torstar.

Torstar cut 52 jobs in total, spokesman Bob Hepburn said, with seven layoffs affecting a community newspaper operation, digital jobs outside the newsroom and a fashion publication.

"Our newsroom is still really big. We've got 200, even with the cuts that are taking place today," Hepburn said. "That makes it, if not the biggest in Canada, one of the biggest in Canada and one of the biggest in North America."

The memo said the cuts come as the paper places more emphasis on breaking news, investigations and special projects.

Holland said the company remains committed to the Star Touch app, but said it had not garnered as large an audience as the company expected.

The company said in March it was pouring more money into the tablet version of its flagship newspaper. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp and Natalie Armstrong; Editing by Dan Grebler)