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March 22, 2021 7:59 pm  #1


Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

Another victim of COVID-19: local newsroom offices.

From The Canadian Press:

"Torstar is permanently closing the physical office spaces for the Waterloo Region Record and the St. Catharines Standard by the end of next month, as media follows industries like tech that have embraced remote work as a permanent default." 

Canadian news outlets close physical offices, codifying remote work    

 

March 22, 2021 9:26 pm  #2


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

Here is a photo of the current offices on King Street in Kitchener.  The Waterloo Region Record moved to this location in 2005 after Torstar sold it's print and warehouse facility on Fairway Road.  The King St. offices occupied about a third of the former Eaton's Market Square location and the paper had 55,000 square feet and underground parking.
https://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/10353244-waterloo-region-record-s-physical-office-in-kitchener-to-close-this-spring/

 

March 22, 2021 10:21 pm  #3


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

Considering that most employees have been working from home over the past year and they have been able to make it work, it's not surprising.  On the surface, it may seem like a cost-cutting measure.  To some degree, it is.  But one thing this pandemic has shown is that working from home is quite viable.  No point in hanging on to all that expensive real estate if it's not being used.

My Wife's employer started having everyone who was able to work from home last year and overall it has been quite a success.  She loves it and hopes it continues after the pandemic.  Even though we're a 5 minute walk from her office, nothing beats the commute of working from home and yes, even working in your housecoat.   

Times have changed.  Technology has allowed us to get the job done pretty much anywhere we can find a decent Internet connection.
 

 

March 22, 2021 11:16 pm  #4


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

I had heard CTV did the same thing recently with several of its newsrooms where it didn’t broadcast newscasts from - Moncton, NB for example.

 

March 22, 2021 11:35 pm  #5


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

The paper itself is not necessarily leaving, but as someone who used to work on the 25th floor of the Star building at 1Yonge St. a long time ago (at CKEY) I would really miss having  access to that incredible view!

And when it comes to broadcasting in particular, the equipment at the studio (not to mention the acoustics) were always better in a professional setting - even if you can get a lot of it done on a laptop these days.

(I still miss my Ampex and Studer!)

     Thread Starter
 

March 23, 2021 12:45 am  #6


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

All of CBS News has been 'working from home' for the last year.  The broadcast center in New York was shut down on March 11, 2020 and since then, the network's radio division has produced every single hourly newscast, update, newsfeed and long-form production (including election night) from home studios with mostly consumer-grade gear.  If they can pull that off, then shutting down a print newsroom is a no-brainer.

 

March 23, 2021 7:01 am  #7


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

That's pretty amazing, considering the size of the network's news division.

But while there's no doubt it's technically possible (and I'm not arguing against it - working from home has a lot of appeal to me) there is something that's lost if it were to become permanent.

Some of my favourite memories of radio and TV involve what happened behind the scenes when the mics and cameras were off. Also, to use my CKEY experience as an example, that was my very first paying job in radio. I was basically a cut line headline writer and tape cutter and wouldn't have had any reason to interact much with the huge talents that worked there.

But thanks to being in the same newsroom, I became friends - or at least got to say I knew - legends like Jim Hunt, Brad Diamond, Ian Brownlee, John Woodbridge, Bernie McNamee, Fred Cripps, Bob Crabb and more. For a relatively young guy just getting started in the business, that was a real treat and a lasting memory. It wouldn't have happened if I'd been able to do it all from home.

     Thread Starter
 

March 23, 2021 11:03 am  #8


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

Like radio stations, a newspaper's office was not only a place to work but essentially a standing 24/7 billboard/promotion of the that paper and closing them or moving them to a nondescript industrial part of town contributes to out of sight, out of mind.

 

March 23, 2021 11:32 am  #9


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

RadioActive wrote:

The paper itself is not necessarily leaving, but as someone who used to work on the 25th floor of the Star building at 1Yonge St. a long time ago (at CKEY) I would really miss having  access to that incredible view!

Sadly, by the time I left, that view (west) was obscured by a mountain of condos.
 


- Chris Mayberry
 

March 23, 2021 11:49 am  #10


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

You really missed something then. I remember the night of the Mississauga train derailment. We could see the smoke in the darkness from that window and we knew, perhaps before most newsrooms, that something big had happened. I always wondered why the Star didn't take that top floor. 

     Thread Starter
 

March 23, 2021 12:25 pm  #11


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

It seems like these permanent work-from-home decisions are being made by senior managers who can work from home quite comfortably in their dedicated home offices.

What about the junior reporter or sales rep who shares a condo with a roommate who also works from home? The couple who's kitchen table has been taken over by laptops? So many people just don't have the physical space to do this and it becomes less like working from home and more like living at work. And it's not as simple as "move to a bigger place," especially in Toronto.

Last edited by RadioAaron (March 23, 2021 12:25 pm)


 
 

March 23, 2021 12:33 pm  #12


Re: Torstar Killing Off Physical Newsrooms - & More May Follow

RadioAaron wrote:

It seems like these permanent work-from-home decisions are being made by senior managers who can work from home quite comfortably in their dedicated home offices.

What about the junior reporter or sales rep who shares a condo with a roommate who also works from home? The couple who's kitchen table has been taken over by laptops? So many people just don't have the physical space to do this and it becomes less like working from home and more like living at work. And it's not as simple as "move to a bigger place," especially in Toronto.

Not to mention this also can represent a shifting of costs, particularly around Internet access, from the employer onto the employee - believe it or not, not all Millennials had home Internet before the pandemic, and some who did had very slow connections that needed large upgrades in order to accommodate multiple people working. Not the case for everyone as I'm aware of companies that reimburse employees for such expenses, but it's far from normal.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (March 23, 2021 12:34 pm)