The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is dismayed by BuzzFeed’s abrupt decision to shutter HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Québec yesterday.
Journalists from both outlets were alerted to the closure when HuffPost Canada’s website was abruptly shut down with a message, in both English and French, that declared no new journalism would be produced. About two dozen full-time Canadian journalists will be out of work effective March 15, an employee said.
“Over the past decade, journalists at HuffPost Canada and HuffPost Québec have consistently offered readers smart and creatively told stories,” said CAJ President Brent Jolly. “The news of their sudden closure leaves yet another huge hole in the Canadian media landscape. It’s another disheartening example of Canadian journalists suffering as collateral damage to business decisions taken beyond our borders.”
The CAJ is concerned that the closure of HuffPost Canada and Québec will only strengthen the nature of precarious employment in Canadian newsrooms, particularly for young journalists, journalists of colour, and those from other historically marginalized groups. The CAJ notes that BuzzFeed relies heavily on contract workers, not full-time staff, in its operations.
The decision to close HuffPost Canada and Québec comes only two weeks after staff had filed for union certification with CWA-Canada. BuzzFeed said the decision to close HuffPost’s Canadian operations were taken before that filing was made.
The CAJ steadfastly supports all of the Canadian journalists who have lost their jobs today to obtain the proper entitlements afforded to them under the law, and urges them to get in touch with the CAJ should they need any assistance.
“It’s a sad reality that Canadian journalism is experiencing some of its darkest days at a time when it is needed the most,” Jolly said. “But with a simple stroke of a pen, a major U.S. media company has unceremoniously upended the lives of so many Canadian journalists dedicated to upholding the public’s right to know. It’s an absolute travesty.”
The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is a professional organization with more than 900 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.
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Brent Jolly, CAJ president