I wish I had some idea what is going on at the National Post....A friend of mine who works there says the morale has cratered and "It was a great ride while it lasted".
Running Maureen Dowd in place of Andrew Coyne is just another, to mix a metaphor, cheese paring nail in the coffin. Subbing Dowd for Coyne is a pure economy move: Dowd's syndication fee is likely all of fifty bucks, you actually have to pay Coyne. Losing Frum was a question of principle - losing Coyne and Steyn almost certainly are about money.
As for Mark Steyn....He seems to be writing for the Telegraph but not the Post...hmmm. His editor, when contacted by Kathy Shaidle
a couple of weeks ago, assured her that Mark was just on a vacation/trip and would be back. Reading between the lines I suspect management told him they were cutting his rate and he told them - by way of his website to get stuffed.
Things are no better at the other ex-Southam papers. Layoffs, budget cuts and a drive down market have been the watchwords at the Sun and the Ottawa Citizen both of which I write for. (As an example, Gordon Campbell is complaining that neither the Sun nor the Province have a full time print journalist covering the B.C. Legislature - he took his complaint to the Sun editorial board, no word on outcome.)
Bottom line: Canwest has a massive debt. The National Post is losing money and they are cutting content in order to reduce costs. This is a recipe for the bankruptcy of a newspaper and best indications are that the Post may be heading in that direction. The other papers in the chain make money, lots of money, but they are being squeezed so that the revenue can be sent back to the mother ship in Winnipeg.
Neither of the Asper kids has a clue about the newspaper business and neither seem to have any great respect for the better traditions of journalism. They seem to see newspapers as a less interesting form of television and treat newspaper readers like television audiences. This will not work and the overall quality, and, I might add, value of the Post and the Southam papers will drop.
I rather suspect, but have no evidence, that the Aspers will try to sell the whole mess sooner rather than later. Come the day!
Update Colby Cosh
reminds me that Steyn, according to his editor Natasha Hassen, was supposed to be back at the end of May....