02/16/2018 08:13 EST | Updated 02/16/2018 08:13 EST

Global News Cuts Nearly 80 Jobs In Shift To Online Coverage

But the company will add about 50 new positions.

A Global News insignia on a cameraman's jacket, Montreal, Que., April 8, 2016.

Corus Entertainment cut nearly 80 jobs, mostly in traditional TV production, at Global News newsrooms across Canada as part of a restructuring geared toward boosting online coverage.

Global News will add about 50 new positions, mostly journalists who will file for new, local versions of the company's news website in Ottawa, Kitchener, Guelph and Barrie, the company said in a story posted on Global News online. The company already operates 18 local websites.

"With digital platforms, our audience no longer is tied to just the locations where we have TV and radio licences, so we will be adding journalists to cover local news in markets where we see opportunity created by the recent closure or consolidation of local newspapers," said Troy Reeb, senior vice-president of Global News and Corus Radio.

Employees who lost their jobs and qualify will be given the opportunity to apply for the new positions, the company said.

A Global News cameraman films at the Oliphant Commission in Ottawa, Tuesday April 14, 2009.

The company also plans to expand its international content and launch a podcast production team.

Unifor, a union representing some Global employees, said 69 of its members who worked as reporters, anchors, camera operators, control room staff, make-up artists and other production crew lost their jobs.

In Vancouver, 21 employees — the most of any local operation — were laid off, Unifor said.

In Halifax, the studio will no longer produce the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick evening news, said David MacPherson, president of the Maritimes unit of Unifor local M1, which represents workers at global.

It will be anchored and broadcast from Toronto as of Monday, he added.

"Out studios will be empty after the morning show ends at 9 a.m."

Watering down of obligations 'proving disastrous': Unifor president

The company's broadcast revenues continue to shrink, Unifor said, and the outlook is bleak if the government fails to act now. It called on Canada's broadcast regulator to make strong local coverage a binding condition of having a license.

"The CRTC paved the way for the cuts announced today by watering down the obligations for big media companies like Corus to protect local news and it's proving disastrous," said Jerry Dias, Unifor's national president, in a statement.