News slashed at Citytv » Media in Canada

News slashed at Citytv

The network's noon-hour and 5 p.m. newscasts are cancelled as Rogers cuts 6% of staff. Mroczkowski and Di Battista gone, say sources.

Citytv shed 6% of its workforce across the country on Tuesday, affecting mostly newsroom operations with the cancellation of its noon-hour and 5 p.m. newscasts.

Long-time Citytv personalities including Anne Mroczkowski and Lara Di Battista are said to be among those cut, according to sources, though representatives at Citytv and parent Rogers Media did not confirm details.

Also said to be cut are several reporters including Pam Seatle, as well as producers, graphics artists, camera operators and editors.

Rogers did not specify the number of jobs affected, but said its morning Breakfast Television and CityLine shows will still be produced for all markets, while CityNews at Six and CityNews Tonight at 11 p.m. will be delivered for the Toronto market only. Citytv employs roughly 1,000 people across its five stations.

A spokesperson for Rogers says the layoffs came as the company focuses ‘on areas of the business that deliver the best results.’

‘Today’s changes, although difficult, are necessary to align our operations with the economic and regulatory realities of our industry,’ commented Rogers Media Television CEO Leslie Sole in a release.

Just hours later, CP24, CTV’s all-news channel in Toronto announced that it would start two new half-hour news programs, Live at 5 and Live at 5:30. The shows will be anchored by CP24 lead anchor Ann Rohmer. The press release annoucing the new shows stated that the new shows would ‘fill the void for Toronto.’

It’s the fourth round of layoffs at Rogers, which dismissed about 900 employees, mostly in its cable and wireless business, in December. These followed cuts in early 2009 to its publishing division and further job losses in December 2008, following the death of founder Ted Rogers. The cuts in 2008 included about eight jobs at Citytv in Toronto.

Mroczkowski joined the Toronto station in the late ’80s and co-anchored CityNews at Six alongside Gord Martineau. Di Battista was a health specialist and co-anchored the CityNews at Noon newscast with Francis D’Souza.

Rogers picked up the Citys, which include stations in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in 2007, when CTVglobemedia was forced to drop them by the CRTC as a condition of its purchase of CHUM.

From Playback Daily, with files from Media in Canada