About half of the editorial staff at the New York Daily News learned in an unsigned email that they would no longer have a job at the Tronc-owned Manhattan newspaper, Poynter reported.
Employees gathered at 9 a.m. Monday for a “meeting” that lasted less than a minute, which was followed by an email 12 minutes later that outlined the “depth of the cuts,” according to The New York Daily News. The email from Chicago-based Tronc was written in first person and came with no name attached.
“As a public company, we have a fiduciary obligation to balance the interests of all of our constituents: shareholders, employees, readers and community,” Tronc Chairman and CEO Justin Dearborn told remaining employees in an email. “While I know these changes are difficult, I ask for your continued focus, patience and optimism as we continue our evolution and embrace the opportunities ahead.”
About 40 journalists remain at the NYC paper.
“As you are all aware, we said goodbye to approximately 50 percent of our colleagues today as we restructured the New York Daily News editorial team to focus on the areas where we can offer the greatest value to our readers in an ever-changing media landscape,” General Manager Grant Whitmore said later. “This is not something we did lightly.
“I firmly believe that today’s actions will position the Daily News for growth in the years ahead,” he added.
The ever-changing media landscape has driven cuts to newspapers and other media outlets across the nation where revenue has declined steadily for nearly two decades.
What did the editor say?
Early Monday, the paper’s editor-in-chief Jim Rich offered a hint on social media to the news that would be coming down on the paper’s reporters, photographers, and editors, later that morning.
If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.
— Jim Rich (@therealjimrich) July 23, 2018
Rich, who was among the dozens who lost their jobs, later updated to his Twitter profile to read: “Just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction.”
Robert York, editor, and publisher of The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, was named to replace Rich and departing managing editor Kristen Lee. His first day will be July 30. Tronc also owns The Morning Call newspaper.
What did the mayor say?
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the staff cuts would be “a disaster for NYC.”
It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with the Daily News from time to time. But Tronc’s greedy decision to gut the newsroom is bad for government and a disaster for NYC. Tronc should sell the paper to someone committed to local journalism and keeping reporters on the beat.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 23, 2018
What did the governor say?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement that urged Tronc to reconsider the move.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 23, 2018
Laid-off staffers received 90 days’ severance and will become “eligible for transitional benefits after that,” according to the Daily News.
The Daily News is one of three dailies covering a city with more than 8.5 million residents.
Last year, Tronc purchased the Daily News for $1, plus all its debt, from longtime owner Mortimer Zuckerman.
Tronc also owns the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va. and the Morning Call.