Volume 95, Issue 51
Friday, November 30, 2001
Ivey Journal vs. Izzy Asper
Biz school magazine angers newspaper czar
By Jessica Leeder
The Richard Ivey School of Business angered one of Canada's largest publishing magnates this week by announcing the impending doom of the National Post.
In an interview with the Ivey Business Journal, Izzy Asper, executive chairman of Canwest Global Communications Corp. which owns the Post announced a 12-month plan to "stop the bleeding" at his beleaguered paper.
An Ivey press release publicizing Asper's statements suggested Asper had established a 12-month "deadline" for the paper to "reach break-even on its daily operations."
In the full-length interview with Ed Pearce, Ivey Business Journal publisher, Asper said CanWest has "initiated a program that says we should crack the nut in the next 12 months. Not to be profitable, but to stop the bleeding."
According to published reports, Asper was disgruntled with the "incorrect" phrasing of his words.
"The choice of the word 'deadline' is unfortunate," said Pearce, noting his use of the word 'deadline' did not necessarily indicate the end of the National Post.
"If you want to read that into it, that's up to you, but it's a fair quote. I stand by it," he said.
Geoffrey Elliot, Canwest's VP-corporate affairs, said there was no 'deadline' and the use of the word in the news release raised concern among National Post staff.
"Mr. Asper has made it clear to [the staff] that we are fully committed to the Post. It is our flagship national newspaper, a strategic asset and we have a commitment to the newspaper's success," Elliot said.
"We did introduce changes designed to reduce costs and to sustain the bleeding, but that indicated we have an expectation that we will make significant progress to stop the bleeding over the next year," he said, referring to the 130-person staff cut the paper shouldered when CanWest took over.
Romayne Smith-Fullerton, a professor in the faculty of information and media studies at Western said no matter the publication, a reporter has a responsibility to "get it right."
"This was the head of one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world, but it shouldn't matter who it is," she said.
with files from Erin Conway-Smith and Kristina Lundblad
Copyright © The Gazette 2001