Thursday, March 05, 2009

Serious layoffs at 24 hours Vancouver newspaper - including Public Eye Online's Sean Holman!

I was shocked and depressed to learn today that 24 hours Vancouver newspaper - where I have a weekly column every Tuesday - has laid off a number of staff, including my friend and colleague Sean Holman, the Legislative Bureau Chief and also editor of Public Eye Online.

Everyone knows that the media are in dire straits in the current economic recession, as advertising revenue drops dramatically. But as more and more bad news comes in, good newspaper journalists are being shown the way out, as are radio and TV reporters.

I know that with Sean's great journalistic skills and experience - and his award-winning track record - he will be an asset to another employer, hopefully in BC journalism.

But that doesn't make it any easier to take the loss of such a valued investigative journalist and friend.

Lastly - Public Eye Online continues - so don't despair.

UPDATE - I want to also say that the unfortunate layoff of several other valued colleagues at 24 hours - editors, reporters, administrative staff - is journalism's loss and personally devastating to all of them. I wish them success in finding new work.


Anonymous said...

Sean Holman's work speaks for itself. How sad that it doesn't guarantee a platform in 24 Hours. Truly, they don't know what they've got till it's gone.

RossK said...


When he next puts out the Public Eye tip jar, send the last of independents, Sean Holman, money!



Unknown said...

Can you list any other names of staff laid off from 24 Hours? Perhaps Erin Airhead? (prays)

Anonymous said...

His additions to his website are great for BC politics.

Anonymous said...

Bill--I know I speak for the both of us when I state that we will miss Sean in so many ways. The man is the epitome of fine journalism.

His skills and abilities as a pure journalist are incredible and his integrity is as solid as the day is long.

I am honoured to have worked with him and privileged to call him my dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Yes Bill, I was checking his site earlier this afternoon and he said he was gone. Hopefully he will land on his feet. He digs up stories that the big outfits simply don't or won't. The video bits on his blog are getting pretty popular. Nobody likes to lose a job. Most of us have done just that at one time or another but it still hurts.

Anonymous said...

Back in the early 1980s The Kent Commission warned of what would ultimately happen in Canada if too much power and control was invested in too few media outlets and far too few bosses.

Twenty-five years later . . . media in Canada is as sick as our former Big Three Auto Companies.

Sean, like many an Windsor Ontario auto worker, has seen his job-for-life go down with the markets and the declining advertising revenue.

Back east in 1980 I got the same treatment as Sean and it was just another dirty deal between Southam & Thompson at the expense of a lot of good people.


Anonymous said...

I think Holman should charge a subscription fee to his website. After all a man has got to eat.

NRF said...

Maybe Quebecor will be the new owners at Canwest Global and they will downsize 24 Hours Vancouver even further.

We might find out in the next 10 days.

Sean Holman said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words. They're much appreciated. The lay off came as something of a shock to me.

Anonymous said...

What are the odds that this economic downturn will force Canwest to sell either The Sun or Province?

Anonymous said...

Sean Holman is the reason I found the Tyee several years ago. I was impressed by the research and reporting of the Walls/Hogg (perfect name for a bc liberal) story, so called the Times Colonist to find out who the reporter was, googled Sean's name and somehow connected with the Tyee, which (along with other sources like this blog, public eye online, legislature raids site etc) has saved me from utter ignorance of what's going on around me. I have continued over the years to be impressed with Sean's intelligence and integrity. What a shame that excellence doesn't prevent one from being laid off. Doesn't seem right or fair. Best Wishes Sean. We need you. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Sean Holman works for that rag Tyee?

No wonder he was downsized (i.e. fired) - and that came to him as a shock.

Tyee is a rag that pushes untruths and crass ideology. Nobody worth their salt is in there. Readers and advertisers have found that out.

Good luck Sean - maybe you can get a real PRODUCTIVE job, where you have to EARN your keeps instead?

Anonymous said...

Sean didn't work for the Tyee. I just found that news source as a byproduct of googling Sean's name, I can't remember exactly why, but probably because they also took an interest in the story at the time.

Anonymous said...

It appears that a anon is quite happy to see sean out of a job. Sure hope it makes the guy fell good to bitch about someone but hasn't got the gonads to say who he or she is. Maybe one of Gordos 200 plus PR hacks?

Anonymous said...

I take great offense to anyone who thinks, in the least, that there was some attachment to The Tyee that factored into the unfortunate circumstances of the other day.

I have, perhaps, been one of the more public critics of The Tyee, as of the last some months, and not without some conflict: I think the world of David Beers. I know what a fine journalist he is. I also can attest to how fine a journalist Monte Paulsen is, as well. Not to mention that I enjoy Will and Rafe too. But while The Tyee has certainly taken a severe (and limiting) turn to the hard left (the not-so-apocryphal anti-Christmas columns were resolutely APPALLING), they could do considerably worse than hire a talent like Sean.

Bill also does work for them. It is one of the few things that may contribute to their salvation, if not redemption. What's happened to them is very sad. There used to be some balance, even reason, but they have clearly made some decisions to pander to the doctrinaire ideologues on the left. They even try to censor their comments--their online editor tried to do that with me.

But the suggestion that Sean's departure had something to do with his appearances in The Tyee, is ridiculous.

I defend The Tyee's right to make bad decisions, as I applauded them, loudly, when they were reasonable.

But the attack Sean, who clearly did not expect this, is cowardly--and not just because it was done anonymously.

Get a life.

Anonymous said...

Feel bad about Sean. Maybe the Straight could hire him?

Does anyone know if 24hrs Vancouver has ever made a profit since it's launch? Noticed Jimmy Pattison sold his share in 07 & he's a pretty smart business man

Anonymous said...

Again, so we are clear, with respect to 24hrs.

Jimmy parted paths with Sun Meadia, NOT because of some financial issue, but because Jimmy doesn't like partners and SMG were not willing to sell. He made a profit, by the way.

Also, the paper is perfectly viable and provides some of the best reporting and perspective in the province.

That's why we are #3 in the province behind the Sun and Province papers. 225,000 read us everyday.

We're proud of that.

24hrs isn't going anywhere...regardless of your idiotic prayers anon...