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Sun Media dismisses regional publishers in reorganization

Sun Media is a subsidiary of Montreal-based Quebecor Inc.

Robert J. Galbraith/The Globe and Mail

Sun Media pressed ahead with an internal reorganization Wednesday, firing regional publishers in Ontario and replacing them with advertising managers whose sole focus will be on selling advertisements across broad geographic areas.

Sources confirmed five managers were let go, including the publishers of the Kingston Whig-Standard, Peterborough Examiner and St. Catharines Standard. Publishers at community newspapers typically bridge the divide between editorial departments and advertising sales forces, and serve as the public face of a publication.

The Sun chain of newspapers – the largest by number of titles in the country – is looking to streamline its management to cut costs and increase sales. Replacing publishers with commission-hungry sales managers is one part of a broader reorganization, sources said Thursday, which started earlier this month when the chain fired two executive vice-presidents who were in charge for sales in Central Ontario and Western Canada in addition to the publisher of the Ottawa Sun.

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Sun Media, a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc., said it wouldn't comment on personnel matters.

The company has been refocusing its newsrooms geographically as well, with editors often in charge of publications in several nearby cities in addition to their own. In late September it hired Eric Morrison to be the chain's vice-president of editorial, saying he would be tasked with heading "a national editorial management structure that will integrate Sun Media's English-language newspapers, websites and broadcast channels."

The publisher hinted at broader changes when it made the announcement.

"The advertising and industrial branches of Sun Media will also be restructured to focus on customers and on business opportunities at the local and national levels," the company said. "Our objective is to create a powerful system that not only improves our editorial products but also structures our sales and operations systems to succeed in today's media marketplace."

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