Star Media Group shutters Metro’s digital-only publications in seven cities

By Carys Mills

Star Media Group announced on Wednesday it’s closing all of Metro’s digital-only publications, cutting jobs and moving its editorial department.

The seven digital-only publications being shut down include Saskatoon, Regina and London, Ont., which had their print publications shut down last July. The other cities are Windsor, Ont.; Victoria and Kitchener and Hamilton, Ont.

“We felt that we experimented with these digital-only publications in these markets and we’ve concluded that, based on the results that we’ve had to date, the digital-only business model is not viable in those markets,” said Star Media Group spokesman Bob Hepburn.

Earlier this year, when the print publications were shut down in Saskatoon, Regina and London, the company said it was keeping an employee in each city. “Three employees, one in each of those three cities, is being impacted by this decision,” Hepburn said.

The employees losing jobs in those cities are two reporters and a managing editor.

A memo that went to Metro employees late Wednesday detailed other cuts. “These changes are part of Metro’s ongoing efforts to evolve our business in light of continued changes in the Canadian media marketplace,” the memo said.

A total of six other jobs are being cut, in editorial, production, marketing and digital operations, the memo said. Hepburn confirmed those jobs are two copy editors, two developers, one marketing specialist and one production graphic designer.

He said one of those employees is being offered an alternative vacant assignment at Metro.

Metro’s editorial department in Toronto, which is currently in an office on Church Street south of Bloor Street East, will be moving to the Toronto Star building at 1 Yonge St., the memo said.

The Star’s newsroom is on the fifth floor, and Hepburn said Metro will go on the second floor, previously home to the defunct alternative weekly The Grid. The move should be finished by the end of January.

Carys MillsCarys Mills has worked as a reporter for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Windsor Star and Ottawa Citizen. She graduated from Ryerson University’s undergraduate journalism program in 2011 with a minor in politics.

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