24 hrs Vancouver newsroom shut down by Postmedia

Postmedia-owned 24 hrs Vancouver will be closing their Vancouver office and laying off staff.

The daily free newspaper prominent among commuters will continue to print, but without original reporting from 24 hrs reporters and editors. Instead, it will re-circulate other Postmedia content printed in local papers like The Vancouver Sun and The Province.

Reporter and sports columnist Eric MacKenzie spoke out on Twitter Thursday afternoon, saying he learned of his own layoff through a tweet.

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Fellow news reporter Michael Mui thanked his followers for their support.

Former Editor-in-Chief Erica Bulman, who left the company in 2014, said the paper had their resources chipped away at for several years. But even with a small team, they excelled in enterprise reporting, she said.

“They wrote a lot of content that no one else had. It was very much a community paper. It was a voice of the community, and those stories aren’t going to exist anymore.”

“Now you’re going to have three key news outlets in Vancouver that are all providing the same content,” she added.

She credits the paper’s “scrappiness” and “talent” for their success as a voice in Vancouver.

“When I was at 24 hrs, I was never prohibited, not even once, from writing anything that we wanted. We published what we wanted. There was no constraints and no agenda. We wrote what we felt was the news… and that’s rare now.”

Bulman left the paper just before it was sold to Postmedia in a $316-million bundle deal including 175 English-language newspapers owned by Quebecor’s Sun Media.

A few weeks before the sale, 24 hrs Vancouver was ranked the second most-read newspaper in Western Canada behind The Vancouver Sun, then half the newsroom was laid off.

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She now suspects the layoffs were to prepare for the impending sale to Postmedia.

The company held the paper for almost two years before shuttering the Vancouver newsroom.

Postmedia, which owns and operates 20 major print newspapers across Canada, has seen its stock take a dramatic decline in recent years. Shares were almost at a record low by closing on Thursday at $0.02. They haven’t been valued at over $1 since early 2015.

The company has not released a statement on the 24 hrs Vancouver closure.

24 hrs Vancouver launched in 2005.

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