MONTRÉAL, March 26, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - La Presse announced today that it intends to reduce the salaries of all its employees—unionized, managers and senior executives—by 10% and temporarily lower the employer's contribution to pension funds. This means employees are being asked to take an average 14% income cut.
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the economy is idling, events are cancelled, many companies must temporarily shut down and the purchase of consumer goods is in free fall. The advertising market is also seeing a dramatic slowdown that is affecting the entire media industry, including La Presse. Most of the company's revenues still come today from advertising purchases on its various platforms.
"This extraordinary situation is forcing us to take exceptional measures to ensure La Presse's continuity," says company President Pierre-Elliott Levasseur.
La Presse was well on track to achieving financial equilibrium in 2020. "Our strategy remains the same, but the recent upheavals require that we act quickly to get through this one-time crisis, which could last several months, and to maintain our mission of producing quality news and information that is accessible free of charge to the entire population," Mr. Levasseur adds.
In recent days, La Presse has focused the efforts of all its journalists on covering COVID-19 in order to provide readers with non-stop news and information on the latest developments, and to offer them suggestions for better getting through this difficult period. Employees rallied together very quickly to reorganize their work methods, prioritizing the need to continue to report the news and respond to readers' concerns.
All teams continue to work passionately and with dedication, to convey accurate, quality, fact-based information. In addition to posting a daily article on lapresse.ca that allows readers to interact live with journalists, La Presse also launched two new newsletters last week. "COVID-19 : bulletin du jour" (COVID-19: daily update) is sent every evening to help readers understand the day's vital developments. For its part, the newsletter "Conciliation télétravail-famille" (balancing telework and family life) offers suggestions to help parents adapt to their new daily reality.
La Presse doubles its daily readership
More and more readers are trusting La Presse for their information. An average of 2,100,000 people have consulted La Presse daily since March 12, compared with an average of 1 million pre-crisis.
"More than ever, La Presse is putting itself at the service of readers to bring them accurate, thorough, diversified information and to help them get through this crisis. At this time, when everyday life across the entire planet is being turned upside-down, we have to uphold a medium like La Presse, which is accessible to all," Mr. Levasseur stresses.
He adds: "The state of the media is especially challenging at this time. Advertising revenues are practically non-existent, but the media must respond to even greater news coverage requirements than in normal times and intensify their efforts to provide the public with an essential service. Against this background, the governments play an important role."
The help of its readers is crucial for La Presse, now operating in a not-for-profit structure. For the past two weeks, La Presse has been receiving an average of 200 new voluntary contributions every day from its readers, compared with 25 daily before the crisis.
"We are fortunate to be able to rely on the backing of our faithful readers who are able to support us, to everyone's benefit," Mr. Levasseur concludes. "This is a very commendable gesture and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their contribution to La Presse's vital mission."
About La Presse
La Presse, a French-language news medium of record in Canada, is a Québec-based not-for-profit independent institution. Its content is distributed on several platforms, including a digital edition for tablets, a mobile application and the Web. The recipient of numerous awards for the quality of its content and its design, La Presse is known for its rich and diversified coverage of news and current events. The daily is also acclaimed for its in-depth series and special reports, as well as for the extensive space it devotes to discussion and debate.
SOURCE La Presse
For further information: Florence Turpault-Desroches, Senior Director, Communications and Fondation La Presse, [email protected], 514 585-9364