'Toronto Star' to Cut One-Fifth of Newsroom Staff

By: E&P Staff The Toronto Star, Canada's biggest newspaper, is outsourcing its copy editing to Pagemasters North America, eliminating 78 editing jobs in a move it says will save US$3.8 million annually.

The reductions, amounting to about one-fifth of the staff, was outlined in a memo to employees by Star Editor in Chief Michael Cooke that was first reported by Joe Schneider of Bloomberg.

"At a time of unprecedented business nightmares facing the Star and our industry, and despite the many operational challenges associated with outsourcing, we believe there are sound business reasons for this proposal," Cooke wrote in the memo.

News of the outsourcing comes as the Star is offering buyouts and early retirement packages to all employees. In the memo, Cooke said the paper will have a better idea of staffing levels, and the need for layoffs, when the so-called voluntary separation plan is complete.

The union representing newsroom employees, the Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild, has 30 days to propose alternatives to the outsourcing, Cooke said.

"I realize what deskers especially, and all of you, want and need most is clarity," Cooke said in the memo. "This note is to share with you information about what has happened and what might happen." He added no layoffs will occur until January at the earliest.


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