A large crowd gathered in front of
Halifax City Hall on Saturday to support the Halifax Typographical
Union's 'Keep Our News Local' campaign.
The man with the microphone is Local president Peter Duffy.
15 March 2009
Elimination of newsroom jobs
public service, rally hears
Halifax Chronicle Herald cutting 25%
of editorial department staff
Halifax Typographical Union | CWA Canada
A strong Chronicle
Herald newsroom is a
vital part of Nova Scotia, a long list of speakers told a
Saturday afternoon rally in support of local news coverage.
|Herald employee Pam Sword (top photo) and Dave Moore, representing the Municipal Association of Police Personnel, joined dozens of other activists at the rally.
The “Keep Our News Local” event staged in front
of city hall was organized by the Halifax Typographical Union,
which represents about 140 employees in the newsroom, composing
and pressroom at Atlantic Canada's largest daily newspaper.
The Halifax Herald Ltd. announced Feb.
3 its intention to eliminate 24 newsroom jobs. Layoffs and
voluntary buyouts among unionized staff are to take effect
Labour representatives decried the
elimination of 25 per cent of the Herald’s unionized
newsroom staff, saying the company should look for other
ways to save money.
Several speakers said they’re worried that looming
cuts to news staff will hobble a vital public service.
“The answer is not to diminish local news; it is to
enhance local news,” said Stephen Kimber, the Rogers
Communications Chair in Journalism at the University of Kings
College in Halifax.
Kimber, who teaches in the School
of Journalism, noted the Herald’s recent coverage of Nova Scotia’s
restaurant inspection system resulted in reports being
made public and posted online for the first time.
Politicians, labour representatives
and other community leaders agreed the public needs to
know what’s happening
in their communities, instead of having to rely more on news
produced in larger centres such as Ottawa and Toronto.
Herald is the way we have a conversation
with each other and tell each other our stories,” said
Halifax Needham MLA Maureen MacDonald, representing the provincial
New Democratic Party Caucus.
New Democrat MPs Megan Leslie (Halifax) and Peter Stoffer
(Sackville-Eastern Shore) also attended the rally, as did
several MLAs and Halifax Regional councillors.
Kings South MLA David Morse, representing
the Progressive Conservative Caucus of Nova Scotia, said
he depends daily on local media, including the Herald, to
help him do his job.
“We’re losing some (local content) and that’s
a concern,” Morse, who is also provincial environment
minister, told the crowd. He noted these are difficult times
for the Dennis family, which owns the newspaper, as well
as for employees.
"You provide a vital service to Nova Scotians,” said
Martha Brown, first vice-president of the
Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union. “These
cuts will affect the quality of news coverage.”
Officials from the Canadian Labour Congress, Halifax-Dartmouth
and District Labour Council and the Municipal Association
of Police Personnel also attended the rally.
In addition to Saturday’s rally,
HTU has also launched an online Keep Our News Local campaign.
The public is invited to join by visiting www.htunion.ca.
(This article is an edited version of a news release that
first appeared on the HTU website.)