The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Mediacheck
  |  
Media

Postmedia Expects at Least $8 Million in Taxpayer Subsidies

Focus is still on cutting costs, says CEO. Big winners seem to be US hedge funds.

By Paul Willcocks 11 Jul 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Paul Willcocks is a journalist and former publisher of newspapers, and now an editor with The Tyee.

It’s not surprising that the first real information about the federal government’s subsidies for news media would come from Postmedia. Traditional media organizations have been lobbying for a bailout.

The floundering corporation released its quarterly results Wednesday. They were bleak, as they have been every quarter since 2010 when Postmedia became Canada’s major newspaper owner.

But the corporation shared good news, at least from its perspective. Postmedia expects to get $8 million to $10 million this year from taxpayers under the federal government’s subsidy program to support “a strong and independent news media.”

Based on a Bloomberg News report, that is about 20 per cent of total program funding in year one.

And it’s an interestingly precise forecast, since no details about the subsidies have been released and the panel to establish eligibility was created less than two months ago.

Once I would have scorned the idea that news media companies should accept government subsidies. Readers would never be able to trust our impartiality if we counted on them.

These are desperate times. Maybe we bend, and look for smart ways to support reporting and commentary essential for a functioning democracy, including government supports.

But handing money to Postmedia doesn’t seem smart.

Not because journalists employed by the corporation don’t do important work. In Vancouver and across Canada, Postmedia journalists report on issues that matter, and would otherwise be ignored. Their ranks are diminished and their owners have undermined their credibility. But as a society we are better off with their work.

But the government’s money — your money — won’t pay for more reporting, or journalists. Postmedia gets the subsidy even if it continues to cut jobs. And that appears to be its plan.

In the corporation’s conference call on the quarterly results, Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod touted the continued double-digit growth in digital revenues.

But that growth added $3 million in revenues in the most recent quarter. Print advertising fell by $13.8 million, subscription revenue by $3.4 million.

So revenue fell by $14 million. Operating expenses were cut by $11 million. MacLeod said the solution was more cuts. And Postmedia’s future looked bleaker.

Subsidizing Postmedia might make sense if the goal was to preserve its 15 daily newspapers while the corporation found a new path forward.

But there is no clear path. Postmedia’s primary goal is to generate enough cash each quarter to pay the interest on the loans from its U.S. hedge fund owners.

Postmedia’s calls on quarterly results have attracted few questions. The usual participants are analysts tracking stocks, but Postmedia is really privately owned.

But Wednesday, Leon Cooperman called in. He’s a 76-year-old billionaire who owns about 14 per cent of Postmedia. Could MacLeod and the management team say when the corporation would return to profitability, he asked?

No, said MacLeod. Postmedia will keep cutting costs, and see what happens.

Which should worry Canadian taxpayers. The $8 million to $10 million a year Postmedia expects to collect should create new jobs for journalists. How do they know the money won’t simply be sent as interest payments to U.S. hedge funds that saw an opportunity in a failing media company?

They don’t.  [Tyee]

Read more: Media

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities

Do:

  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

What Issue Is Most Important to You This Election?

Take this week's poll