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Journal workers launch news website

by Archives February 3, 2009

Locked-out Journal de Montréal workers launched a new website last Wednesday, but they say ruefrontenac.com won’t be focused on the lockout.
“It’s not a propaganda site,” said Michel Van de Walle, a business reporter with the Journal and now ruefrontenac.com. “It’s a real news site, made by professional journalists and columnists who were working at the Journal de Montréal and they are doing the exact same thing at ruefrontenac.com as they were doing when they were employed by the Journal de Montréal.”
With the way Montreal’s most-read tabloid will increase its online content at issue in the labour dispute, Van de Walle said it was important for Journal workers to show they weren’t afraid of change. “We wanted to show to our employer that we are in favour of the net. That we want to work on it.”
In addition to multimedia content “there’s a lot of issues,” said Van de Walle. “The employer wants to cut around 75 people and reduce the wage by 25 per cent.”
While workers don’t know how long the lockout will last, Van de Walle said they’re “prepared to be here for a long time.”
In 2007 editorial staff at the Journal de Québec were locked-out for 15 months, they also started their own news website, while they were locked out. Both papers are owned by Quebecor Media.
But Journal management are fighting back, launching their own new website on Monday, l’heure juste, a site devoted solely to the labour dispute.
Also on Monday, Premier Jean Charest got involved in the dispute, announcing that Quebec’s cabinet ministers would no longer be giving interviews to the Journal de Montréal, which is currently being written by management and freelance reporters.

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