CAJ notes risks in CanWest plan

    OTTAWA, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists today
cautioned that a nationwide round of buyouts and possible layoffs at CanWest
newspapers could reduce the breadth of local news coverage.
    CanWest has assured the CAJ that the move -- linked to a plan to
centralize some layout and pagination work at the media giant's Hamilton,
Ont., facility -- is not intended to reduce the number of reporters in its
newsrooms or shrink local news content.
    Management at one CanWest newspaper has told reporters that the company
wants to avoid layoffs but they will be necessary if buyout targets are not
    "The CAJ has for years been sounding the alarm that centralization risks
reducing local control over news coverage, and with it the variety of voices
in communities across Canada," said CAJ president Mary Agnes Welch.
    "Readers benefit when more viewpoints are available to them. News people
who are familiar with local issues are in the best position to report, place
and set that news in context. We respect CanWest's right to find new ways of
doing business, but we're concerned that the quality of the journalism at
Canada's largest-circulation newspapers not suffer as a result."

    The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization
with some 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary role is to provide
public-interest advocacy and high quality professional development for its

For further information:

For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, president, CAJ, (204)
943-6575; John Dickins, executive director, CAJ, (613) 526-8061,;
Personne-ressource: Sue Montgomery, administratrice, ACJ, (514) 248-1928

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