Local sports coverage gets the axe at several CTV stations
By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor
CTV News has cut local sports coverage in several markets.
Howard Law, media industry director for Unifor, the union representing CTV workers across the country, confirmed to J-Source that cuts were made at CTV stations in Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Windsor, Calgary and Edmonton on March 28. In mid-February, local sports coverage was also cut in Barrie.
A total of 20 jobs were cut as a result of the restructuring, with KW the hardest hit—nine jobs total were cut at the station, though Law said not all those jobs were related to local sports coverage.
Bell Media has yet to respond to J-Source’s request for comment on this story, but in a statement provided to Global News, a spokesperson said the changes were a “response to the challenges we and other Canadian media companies are facing on multiple fronts: changing broadcast technologies and growing international competition, a tough advertising market and ongoing regulatory pressure.”
“The fact is that they are cutting sports staff,” said Law. As Law understands it, there will not be field gathering reporting in local sports anymore, unless there is a major event that needs to be covered.
Local sports news covers a wide range of activities, from high school and university sports to coverage of semi-pro and junior sports leagues.
Law, who recently advocated for increased local news standards for programming at the CRTC’s group licensing hearings, worries that these cuts could be a harbinger of what’s to come. “It’s just like a flesh eating disease,” he said. “We’re doing sports today; news tomorrow.”
H.G. Watson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.
H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.