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Toronto Star swings axe in newsroom, on tablet project

Sinking ad revenues triggered a round of job cuts Tuesday at the Toronto Star, with temporary workers on the company’s news tablet product taking the hardest hit.

From the Globe and Mail (“Torstar cuts 52 jobs, drastically reducing tablet edition staff“):

Torstar Corp. has cut 52 jobs, including 45 from the Toronto Star’s newsroom, drastically reducing the staff working on the ambitious tablet edition launched less than a year ago.

The cuts include 26 temporary positions, most of them focused on the Toronto Star Touch tablet edition, and 19 permanent jobs. Of the permanent staff laid off, 10 are reporters and five are editors. The jobs being eliminated also include digitally-focused positions and four roles outside the newsroom at the free Metro daily newspapers.

“The moves are in response to declining advertising and our need to allocate the company’s resources as cost-effectively as possible,” said Bob Hepburn, a spokesman for the Star, in an interview.

Tuesday’s cuts signal a significant pullback in the resources invested in Star Touch. As Torstar built toward the tablet edition’s launch last September, it hired about 70 dedicated newsroom staff, including reporters, videographers, designers and graphic artists. As of Tuesday, only 26 of those employees are still with the company.

“These changes are another important step in the Star’s strategic evolution along a path towards the multi-platform news media organization of the future,” said David Holland, Torstar’s chief executive officer, in a company memo. “Along with these staff reductions, the Star newsroom is also evolving its structure to place greater emphasis on key content areas such as breaking news, investigations and special projects.”

Mr. Hepburn also added: “We’re still fully committed to the tablet.”

The tablet app has been downloaded about 200,000 times, but the number of weekly regular users seems to have peaked out at 55,000 to 60,000, according to the Globe.

Tue, August 9 2016 » Main Page, Media