In the wake of pre-holiday layoffs, journalists pour out support and solidarity on Twitter
As journalists at Canada’s second-largest news organization prepare for dozens of scheduled layoffs in December, support for their jobs and Canada’s journalism industry has taken Twitter by storm.
In a heartwarming display of journalistic solidarity, reporters from the @chronicleherald newsroom just sent our @thestarhalifax team donuts, several Keg gift certificates and a card filled with well wishes. As we prepare for the end, our team is grateful for this thoughtfulness. pic.twitter.com/74vLr45qrY— Yvette d’Entremont (@ydentremont) November 26, 2019
If any of today’s laid-off StarMetro journos suddenly have burning freelancing questions, please feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe I can help.— Eva Holland (@evaholland) November 19, 2019
Not a limited-time offer; I know you may not be thinking your way down that road yet.
Journalism layoffs and lack of jobs for j-students makes me despair at issues outside my control.— Rob Shaw (@robshaw_vansun) November 19, 2019
Only small thing I can think to do is offer to help anyone interested in #bcpoli reporting. Come spend time w/ me at #bcleg. Will intro you to contacts, give any help I can. DMs open
On Nov. 19, news broke that the Toronto Star would be shutting down its StarMetro operations by Dec. 20, halting production of five daily papers across Canada, as well as cutting labour at the Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record in Ontario. As a result of the StarMetro cuts, over 120 jobs will be lost — a majority of them being journalists, Canadian journalism union Unifor said.
In a Unifor press release, union president Jerry Dias condemned the current situation in Canadian media, calling for Parliament to “save local news.”
“This is a stunning number of layoffs,” Dias said in the statement. “Less journalists means less news coverage.”
While many have decried the layoffs in public, journalists have taken to collection beer funds for their out-of-work colleagues in an act of solidarity, with newsrooms sending gifts of donuts, gift cards and sympathy cards. One beer fund, originally orchestrated by Ryersonian instructor H.G. Watson, amassed at least $2660 within a few hours of going live.
Okay so final tally:— Jimmy Thomson (@jwsthomson) November 20, 2019
100 journalists and journalism supporters — from student journalists all the way to published authors and news anchors, plus a couple publications — came through with $2660 within three hours to support six newsrooms in need of a cold drink.
“I used to be a media reporter. Seeing a lot of these layoffs happen and only being able to report on them – and seeing a lot of young journalists laid off – I wanted to do something to help and to make them feel that they’re not alone in this,” Watson said.
The cancellation of the Metro papers comes as a huge loss for those who relied on print for their news, affecting readers from five major Canadian cities where the free daily is going away: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver.
FYI: Metro (and later the scaled-down StarMetro print product) was used to keep hospitalized teens up on current events at SickKids. It is a fixture in my @WestNHouse adult literacy classroom, and was widely read at seniors’ centres, schools, shelters and drop-ins. https://t.co/ON0GRG7h8j— Genna Buck (@genna_buck) November 20, 2019
Despite the layoffs, the Toronto Star sparked controversy when they listed job postings for journalists with “commitment to TorStar values” and “3 years or more experience at a major daily metropolitan newspaper,” with some on Twitter believing that those jobs could have best been repurposed for the StarMetro journalists being laid off.
After 18 months in operation, the Toronto Star laid off dozens of journalists it hired for StarMetro, many of whom were in their first jobs for a major newspaper, and effectively said they could reapply for their jobs.— Justin McElroy (@j_mcelroy) November 27, 2019
Here’s the postings for the new jobs. pic.twitter.com/3TWHkAMtyp
But in other newsrooms, journalists continue to look after one another — a sign that while many are expected to lose their jobs, there’s always the comfort of our peers.
It’s like the 12 days of Christmas here with the delivery of cakes and goodies. Today we gathered for homemade chocolate orange carrot cake baked by @suenew from @kingsjournalism. It was delicious and the card was clever. I hope she shares the recipe. 🍰 pic.twitter.com/mFVaGwrDgl— Yvette d’Entremont (@ydentremont) November 27, 2019