Layoffs at Global Okanagan’s local news team

Global News has cut nearly 80 media jobs across Canada, and four of those jobs are in the Okanagan.

Global News has cut nearly 80 media jobs across Canada, and four of those jobs are in the Okanagan.

Veteran reporter Blaine Gaffney, along with two local cameramen, one in Kelowna and one in Vernon, were laid off, sources confirmed to the Kelowna Capital News. The station is expected to use VJs going forward.

Camera operators, reporters, anchors, control room staff, make-up artists and other production crew received layoff notices in newsrooms across Canada, with Global’s most successful station in Vancouver taking the biggest hit with 21 job cuts, according to a statement released today by Unifor.

Unifor representatives highlighted concerns about the continued erosion of local news as Corus-owned Global News cuts nearly 80 jobs across Canada, including 69 Unifor members.

“Fewer journalists will be out gathering news from every region from Vancouver to Halifax,” said Unifor national president Jerry Dias. “If the Maritime newscasts now come from Toronto—how can you still call that local news?”

“The federal government stood by while Canada’s local newspapers struggled and now our members in TV news are being asked to do more to fill the same number of programming hours with fewer resources, all on this government’s watch.”

“The CRTC paved the way for the cuts announced today by watering down the obligations for big media companies like Corus to protect local news and it’s proving disastrous.”

Broadcasters in Canada are obligated to air local TV news as a condition of license but last year the CRTC softened requirements that they maintain historical levels of programming, and decided not to set rules requiring “feet on the street” coverage, leaving media companies free to cut local news jobs over the term of their five-year broadcasting licenses.

Unifor is asking the CRTC to review local news and make strong local coverage a binding condition of license, before it’s too late, as part of the union’s ongoing #savelocalnews campaign.

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