Postmedia selling more real estate
September 11, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
In an attempt to free itself from cumbersome legacy costs, Postmedia this week announced that it is selling two real estate properties: Its Kennedy Heights printing facility in Surrey B.C. and the Calgary Herald building. That follows the recent sale of its Windsor Star building and its National Post properties.
It’s the latest in a series of steps taken by the Canadian publisher to ameliorate ongoing financial pressures, which led to losses of $112.2 million in the third quarter.
But it’s not just Postmedia. Last month, Australian publishers Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia announced their intention to sell print facilities in Queensland and New Zealand. Closer to home, Bangor Publishing Co. announced plans to shutter a plant and outsource printing.
Toronto newspaper consultant Ed Strapagiel calls giving up printing plants a “big step” for newspapers, but says it’s a way of avoiding costly investments in plant upgrades or even bringing in new presses.
Postmedia has entered into a print outsourcing agreement with TC Transcontinental Printing for the Calgary Herald beginning in November, and is working with union reps in B.C. to develop alternatives to Kennedy Heights for the printing of The Vancouver Sun and The Province.
On the bright(er) side – ‘cause those losses likely aren’t slowing anytime soon – Strapagiel says that outsourcing printing could also result in improved print quality and more colour in their pages.
The closures will inevitably result in more job losses, nothing new for the journalism sector. According to the 10th annual “The State of the News Media 2013” report by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, the U.S. newspaper industry fell below 40,000 professional employees for the first time since 1978 last year. No other media segment has seen such attrition.