Postmedia to kill Pembroke Daily Observer

Corporate debt and feds’ failure to help newspapers to blame, union says
 

PEMBROKE, ON, June 26, 2018

A newspaper that’s served Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley for 163 years has been sacrificed at the altar of corporate debt and government inaction, says the union representing employees at the Pembroke Daily Observer.

Our hearts are broken to hear Pembroke will lose a large part of its identity,” said Tina Peplinskie, a longtime reporter and union leader at the newspaper. “Local news is critical to the health of communities and to democracy itself.”

The Pembroke Daily Observer was founded in 1855, the same year a nearby community known as Bytown was incorporated as the city of Ottawa and 12 years before Canadian Confederation.

“Postmedia is closing a daily newspaper next month that’s older than Canada itself as a cost-cutting measure to pay down debt,” said Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M. “Yet, somehow, it managed to pay its top executives millions of dollars in bonuses.”

Canada’s newspaper industry is being battered by digital disruption as advertising dollars once spent in local newspapers are sucked out of the country by foreign tech giants Google and Facebook.

“We have asked the federal government to help newspapers transition to new and economically sustainable ways to deliver local news but have been met with essentially empty platitudes,” Morse said. “Now, another historic Canadian newspaper will die, and proud Pembroke will face the threat of becoming a local news desert.”

Unifor Local 87-M represents members at the Pembroke Daily Observer among 2,000 media workers across southern Ontario, including the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and Hamilton Spectator. Unifor is Canada’s largest private-sector union with over 320,000 members in all sectors of the economy, including over 11,000 in media.

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Contact: Paul Morse, 905-536-5650, paul@unifor87m.org.