The Daily News is no more.
This morning at 10 am, some 85 employees of the Daily News were gathered together for a meeting with representatives from Transcontinental Media, corporate owner of the paper, and told they no longer had a job.
The news came as a complete surprise, leaving the employees wondering how to manage mortgage payments, children in school and new job searches.
"Just 15 months ago they recruited me from Montreal," said Daily News editor Jack Romanelli, who had formerly edited the Montreal Gazette and the Cornwall Standard Freeholder. "I left my job, moved here, got a mortgage. Now what?"
After they were let go, about three dozen Daily News employees gathered at the Celtic Corner tavern in downtown Dartmouth to commiserate.
"We're still in shock," said reporter Jennifer Taplin while holding her five-month-old son, Cade. Taplin, who is still on maternity leave from the paper, bought a house in May with her husband Ryan Taplin, who worked as a freelance photographer with the Daily News.
"We came here from western Canada three years ago to be employed," said Taplin. "Ryan's been working full-time hours, with full-time pay, but because he's a freelancer, he doesn't get any severance and won't be eligible for EI.
"Now we have to decide: Do we stay in Halifax, or do we stay in journalism?"
None of the former employees would disclose the their severance package, beyond saying it gave them "a little breathing room."
Like several of those gathered, Taplin felt that the paper had been making great strides.
"The newsroom is awesome," she said. "We help each out and everything was beginning to fall together. Jack came out here, really cared about journalism, and we were putting out a great paper. It wasn't just a job, come in and clock out.
"I mean, look at this," she said, gesturing to the room full of people. "This says it all. We're all here together, having a drink. This might be the last time we see each other."