Jobs lost as Xtra folds print edition, goes online only

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Photo: Flickr/Lars Lundqvist

The 31st anniversary of Xtra, February 19, 2015, will be the last time it publishes on paper. 

On Wednesday, Canada's only gay and lesbian publisher Pink Triangle Press (PTP) announced that it would be moving to an all digital platform and closing down Xtra, its print publications in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

The iconic weekly produces news for and about the LGBTIQ community. Final issues of Xtra in Vancouver and Ottawa will appear on streets February 12, 2015 and in Toronto on the newspaper's 31st anniversary on February 19, 2015.

The move will trigger about a dozen layoffs in the publishing and administration divisions at Xtra. According to a press release, PTP will continue to employ a total of 57 people in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Xtra, known for both it's hard-hitting local journalism and brazen iconoclasm, was first published in Toronto in 1984. In 1987 it merged with PTP's flagship publication The Body Politic. In 1993 the publication expanded to include editions in Vancouver and Ottawa, creating Canada's first and only national gay and lesbian media group.

"This is a terrible day for free speech. I think that those pink and purple newspaper boxes that will soon be gone are more than a delivery system: they are visual markers for sexual liberation and equality and justice," said former Xtra journalist Andrea Houston in an interview with the Toronto Star.

Ella Bedard is rabble.ca's labour intern. She has written about labour issues for Dominion.ca and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People. 

Photo: Flickr/Lars Lundqvist

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