Trouble at La Presse - Macleans.ca
 

Trouble at La Presse


 

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Well, this is disconcerting.

Management at La Presse, Montreal’s long-reigning broadsheet, made a shocking announcement yesterday: either the union makes concessions to the tune of $13 million, or the paper ceases publication December 1.

Whoah. Let’s begin with the preamble: La Presse is consistently the best read in the city.It consistently sets the municipal, provincial and federal agenda here, and as such is a delightful required read for anyone wanting to know anything about anything in Quebec. The A section alone takes two coffees to get through, which is more than can be said about the other three dailies delivered to the front door (or the inbox) everyday.

Which makes the news a bit puzzling. Not that the signs weren’t there–the paper canned its Sunday edition a couple of months ago. Still, practically every newspaper on the continent is in trouble, existentially and otherwise, and La Presse is in better shape than most to survive, what with its near-lock on Montreal’s “upmarket” eyeballs. (No offense will be taken by le Journal de Montréal, which is a deliciously downmarket tabloid currently embroiled in a an eight-month lockout, or the skinny and often overly-cerebral Le Devoir.) At the very least, it provides its owner, Power Corporation and the Desmarais family a hugely influential and consistently pro-federalist voice. At the very very least, you’d think management wouldn’t suddenly resort to the “we’re-all-gonna-die” tact tack (thx baldygirl!) right off the bat.

Which suggests to me that it isn’t a tact tack at all, and the paper is genuinely in trouble. Management has already offered to open the books for the paper’s unions. Its editorial staff have a good contract–four-day, 32-hour workweek, for starters–which will be the first on the chopping block. (Management is also asking for a six percent decrease in salaries.)  Also expect that any concessions wrung out of La Presse employees will be carried down the line to the company’s clutch of other city dailies.


 
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Trouble at La Presse

  1. So either parent Power Corp. loses, or a big union loses? There is no outcome I'm really unsatisfied with in this situation.

    • I think everyone loses when a credible newspaper disappears.

      • Why? Shall we destroy our cars return to the horse-and-carriage? Shall we throw out the internet?

        Two things.

        Newspapers are being replaced by the internet. When you can get all the news you need from 10 000 sources (including newspaper) on the internet in the comfort of your own home, clearly we don't need as many newspapers around.

        If everyone though the same as you, they wouldn't be in trouble, would they? Obviously, there are not enough people buying La Presse to keep it afloat with its current fat-cat business model. The fact that they have a 32 hour work-week is quite a shocker to me. Either they figure out how to earn more than they spend, or they should go the way of the dinosaur. That way, nobody loses. Thank goodness for the free market, in may countries the rest of us would have our earnings expropriated to support their year-long 3 day weekends.

  2. La Presse is consistently the best read in the city.

    La Presse is easily the best newspaper in the country. I hope everything works out for them.

  3. Sorry to be tactless, but I think you're using the word 'tact' incorrectly. I think the meaning you're seeking would be either tack or tactic. In this context, the word 'tact' seems out of place.

  4. Further to AVR, this is one situation where th famous quip could come true: both sides could lose! In fact, it's hard to see how it can come out any other way in the longer run. Not very nice for journalists and other intellectual elites, of course. What is already a very small pool of jobs for them is about to get even smaller. But highly entertaining sport for the rest of us. I'll make the popcorn.

    Anyone want to start a pool on when the Globe and Mail makes a similar announcement?

  5. Further to AVR, this is one situation where th famous quip could come true: both could lose! In fact, it's hard to see how it can come out any other way in the longer run. Not very nice for journalists and other intellectual elites, of course. What is already a very small pool of jobs for them is about to get even smaller. But highly entertaining sport for the rest of us. I'll make the popcorn.

    Anyone want to start a pool on when the Globe and Mail makes a similar announcement?

  6. Further to AVR, this is one situation where th famous quip could come true: both sides could lose! In fact, it's hard to see how it can come out any other way in the longer run. Not very nice for journalists. or the intellectual elite (a very real phenomenon in Québec). What is already a very small pool of jobs for them is about to get even smaller. But highly entertaining sport for the rest of us. I'll make the popcorn.

    Anyone want to start a pool on when the Globe and Mail makes a similar announcement?

  7. Further to AVR, this is one situation where th famous quip could come true: both sides could lose! In fact, it's hard to see how it can come out any other way in the longer run. Not very nice for journalists. or the ntellectual elite (a very real phenomenon in Québec). What is already a very small pool of jobs for them is about to get even smaller. But highly entertaining sport for the rest of us. I'll make the popcorn.

    Anyone want to start a pool on when the Globe and Mail makes a similar announcement?

  8. Let's face it; people don't want decent journalism because they don't feel they need it. And for the most part, that's true.

    • Yeah, just ask the Russians.

  9. Yikes. I can't imagine Montreal or Quebec or Canada without La Presse. Moreover, it was always my paradigm of how first-rate newspapers can still flourish in this Internet age. This is the grimmest news of the year. December 1st! Here's hoping they can work something out.

  10. Further to AVR, this is one situation where the famous quip could come true: both sides could lose! In fact, it's hard to see how it can come out any other way in the longer run. Not very nice for journalists. or the intellectual elite (a very real phenomenon in Québec). What is already a very small pool of jobs for them is about to get even smaller. But highly entertaining sport for the rest of us. I'll make the popcorn.

    Anyone want to start a pool on when the Globe and Mail makes a similar announcement?