So long, Suns? Frank Magazine says Postmedia will merge dailies in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa

Posted on November 07, 2015, 6:58 pm
3 mins

PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal Building in downtown Edmonton, home to both the Edmonton Journal and  the Edmonton Sun. At least until March … Below: A sign of the (end) times? “Front counter service closed,” says a sign in the foyer of the Edmonton Journal Building in downtown Edmonton. Below that: Margo Goodhand, Edmonton Journal editor-in-chief.

Frank Magazine, the subscriber-only Parliamentary and media tip sheet that is required reading for Ottawa insiders, reported today that Postmedia will merge its big-city dailies in Edmonton and Calgary into a single edition in each city this March.

However, Margo Goodhand, editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal, said this afternoon she does not believe the report, which she described as making no sense.

JournalSignAccording to Ottawa-based Frank, in addition to merging the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun and the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun into a single newspaper in each city, the financially troubled Toronto-based media conglomerate will do the same thing with the Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun. Frank said only that the source of its terse 46-word report is reliable. Postmedia Network Canada Corp. lost $263.4 million last year.

“I have heard nothing about this, nor do I believe it makes any sense,” said Ms. Goodhand in response to an emailed query from AlbertaPolitics.ca about the Frank report. “The Vancouver Sun and the Province have coexisted/competed for 30 years with the same owners. Different readers, different advertisers. Why would Postmedia take a different tack in other markets?”

Postmedia announced the acquisition of Sun Media Ltd.’s daily newspapers and the rest of Sun’s English-language community and trade publications from Quebecor Inc. for the fire-sale price of $316 million in the fall of 2014.

Margo-May_2011At that time, Postmedia promised that both Postmedia and Sun newspapers would continue to operate independently of one another in markets where they competed directly before the acquisition. Shareholders were told there would be “synergies,” and that Postmedia expected to find $6 to $10 million in savings, mostly through unidentified shared services.

In early August, Ms. Goodhand confirmed reports that the Sun’s advertising staff would be moved from their east-side location into the Journal building in downtown Edmonton this fall, a move that is now complete. She said at the time the Sun and Journal would have separate newsrooms and maintain “distinct print and digital brands.”

Ms. Goodhand was responding at that time to questions from AlbertaPolitics.ca about the offer to Journal subscribers of a low-cost subscription to the Sunday edition of the Sun. Back in May 2012, Postmedia cancelled Sunday editions of the Journal, the Herald and the Citizen as a cost-cutting measure.

In August, AlbertaPolitics.ca asked (rhetorically): “How long before the Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal are rolled into one newspaper? One year? Eighteen months? Two years?”

16 Comments to: So long, Suns? Frank Magazine says Postmedia will merge dailies in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa

  1. David Veitch

    November 7th, 2015

    “Different readers, different advertisers. Why would Postmedia take a different tack?” Easy. Different times.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 7th, 2015

      Also, different owners. We’ll see, I guess.

      Reply
      • November 8th, 2015

        Actually, it’s been 57 years since the Vancouver Sun and Province joined to become Pacific Press.

        Reply
  2. November 7th, 2015

    Some sort of merger is probably inevitable if Postmedia isn’t able to stop their financial slide. I would expect they will eventually merge the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal, and the Edmonton Sun and Calgary Sun into provincial papers with local front covers and sections.

    Reply
  3. Expat Albertan

    November 8th, 2015

    So what can we conclude from the financial bad times the Postmedia is having? Certainly this is happening to most newspapers, everywhere, in this day and age where they are competing with the internet and all its independent sources (Slate, Rabble). However, I can’t help but wonder if part of it is due to the possibility that the right-wing tonic the Postmedia offers up to Canadian readers is not profitable beyond a certain relatively small market (enough to support a cheap rag in some cities, but not enough to sustain an entire media empire spewing this kind of stuff).

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 8th, 2015

      For people who are devotees of The Almighty Market, Postmedia is remarkably resistant to the demands of the market. That should tell you what you need to know. Conrad Black has admitted the National Post was an ideological project to advance the spread of the neoliberal virus, not a journalistic one. Now the whole chain has succumbed. It will be kept alive as long as possible to advance “conservatism,” but the things that made newspapers like the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald great – good local coverage and a commitment to being the region’s “newspaper of record” are doomed. The imbeciles in Toronto will close them all to keep the Post afloat.

      Reply
      • CBC

        November 9th, 2015

        The difference between the Post and the CBC is that if you don’t like the Post, you don’t have to read it and it doesn’t cost you anything. If you don’t like the CBC, you’re still forced to waste your tax dollars and spend a billion dollars a year subsidizing it. Time to de-fund.

        Reply
        • David Climenhaga

          November 10th, 2015

          Only one of these per day, Bob-CBC. Got that? DJC

          Reply
          • Dave

            November 11th, 2015

            Censor!

  4. David Grant

    November 8th, 2015

    It is difficult for me to feel a lot of emotion to this story given the area of major big media mergers that have taken place over the past few decades. For those who have an interest about the problems of media mergers should read the Media Monopoly from the late Ben Bagdikian written in 1983. When you look at the later editions you see that the number of conglomerates has grown in the US since that classic’s debut, and the same could be said of Canada. The problem for me is that both of these newspapers were pretty terrible, the Journal and Herald being the less terrible papers. When Conrad bought these papers they became cheerleaders for the Klein government and the neoliberal agenda. The one saving grace was the CBC, but now it has become very weakened. Frankly, if it wasn’t for publications like the defunct FFWD Magazine and blogs like this one and others I wouldn’t be able to get anything like the news. I hope that David keeps us informed on this issue.

    Reply
  5. Jimbo

    November 8th, 2015

    The Herald’s operations are being moved to the Calgary Sun building in the near future, so that part is consistent with what is happening in Edmonton (Ottawa?). I always thought that local mergers/closures were possible, if the Hedge Fund Gang got antsy enough about its return on investment. Folding titles would mean cutting jobs, because a single paper in each market would mean one of every two remaining jobs would no longer be needed (only one city editor, for example, instead of two). But It would also cost money, in terms of lost advertising, so that step would be a sure sign of desperation on the part of the owners. I don’t think they are at that point yet, but they could get there at some time in the future. If they do, I doubt they will let Margo and her colleagues know first, because some of them will be first out the door.

    Reply
  6. MoS

    November 8th, 2015

    If we are to believe the recent article on PostMedia in The Guardian, this is the internal organs of PM shutting down as its American vulture capitalists milk it dry and then feed on the corpse.

    Reply
  7. f

    January 6th, 2016

    Hopefully no matter what happens, that hack Lorne Gunter can finally be fired out of a canon like the circus clown he is.

    Reply

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