The New York Daily News tabloid has cut half of its newsroom staff, including Jim Rich, the paper’s editor-in-chief.
NY Daily News cuts half of its newsroom staff, including editor-in-chief
The paper was sold to tronc Inc, the owner of the Chicago Tribune, last year for $1 along with all liabilities and debt.
According to a report by The Guardian, in an email sent to staff on Monday, tronc said the remaining staff – estimated by reports at around 40 journalists – would focus on breaking news involving “crime, civil justice and public responsibility”.
The newspaper has been a key fixture in New York for the last century. It has won 11 Pulitzer prizes, including last year for its work with ProPublica on the abuse of eviction rules in New York City.
There had been reports that the cuts were coming, and an early-morning tweet from Rich hinted at what was to come.
“If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you,” Rich wrote.
The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, urged tronc to reconsider the layoffs, saying they were made without notifying the state or asking for assistance.
“I urge Tronc to reconsider this drastic move and stand ready to work with them to avert this disaster,” Cuomo said in a printed statement. “I understand that large corporations often only see profit and dividends as a bottom line. But in New York, we also calculate loss of an important institution, loss of jobs, and the impact on the families affected. I hope Tronc does the same and recalculates its decision. New York State stands ready to help.”
The cuts also targeted the tabloid’s social media staff, evidenced by its Twitter feed, which began posting gifs and memes that were later deleted.
Revenue and print circulation have been sliding at the newspaper for years, even as it provided critical coverage of health issues in public housing and for first responders after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Revenue slid 22% between 2014 and 2016, and the paper had already been letting people go. Tronc declined to say how many journalists lost their jobs Monday.
“We’ve worked hard to transform the New York Daily News into a truly digitally-focused enterprise,” tronc said in an email that was sent to the newsroom. “But we have not gone far enough.”
Robert York, editor of tronc-owned The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will take over as editor of the Daily News.
Tronc owns the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, and other media operations. It sold the Los Angeles Times last month. It is also planning to change its much-ridiculed name back to Tribune Publishing