The Saltwire Network says it is assessing the future of its weekly newspapers in Atlantic Canada including the Sackville Tribune-Post and the Amherst News after announcing the permanent layoff of 109 employees yesterday.
The company, which also owns daily papers in Halifax, Charlottetown, Sydney and St. John’s, suspended the publication of its weeklies in March because of a collapse in local advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an e-mail today to Warktimes, Ian Scott, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Saltwire Network, said the future of the Sackville and Amherst papers will depend on market conditions.
“We’re continuing to evaluate which publications return and when they will return,” Scott wrote. “In all cases, the decisions are being made with an understanding of market demand (advertising and circulation).”
He added that the company has relaunched the South Shore Breaker in Nova Scotia’s Queens and Lunenburg counties “because market demand has shown the customer base is there to support it.”
He said all other papers are being assessed in the same way.
“I cannot offer more specifics of the market demand for The Sackville Tribune-Post and the Amherst News in particular, but we will be very keen to return as quickly as possible in as many markets as is possible,” Scott wrote.
In announcing the 109 permanent layoffs yesterday, Scott said that after the pandemic began, advertising plummeted as businesses closed and customers stayed home.
“The loss has cost the company millions in revenue to date without expected improvement in the coming months,” he added.
To read my previous story about the papers shutting down temporarily in March, click here.