“New York’s Hometown Paper,” the New York Daily News has seen its editorial staff gutted with half of those working in the newsroom being fired as part of a “fundamental restructuring," parent company Tronc announced on Monday in an email to employees,
“If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you,” editor-in-chief Jim Rich, who was also among those fired, posted on Twitter.
According to multiple reports, the staff of the iconic tabloid in its 99th year of operation was informed during a one-minute meeting in their Manhattan newsroom. Those being laid off are set to receive 90 days of severance.
“It wasn't so much one story that stayed with you as a NYDN reporter. It was the ensemble cast of characters you met, the opportunity to make the details dance on deadline and glasses raised with colleagues. Cheers to the paper, as she was,” former reporter Kevin Armstrong posted.
Tronc is the owner of papers in several major cities. It bought the financially plagued Daily News, operating on an annual loss of $300 million, for a dollar late last year. Tronc has made countless cuts and shifts in emphasizing quick-turn pieces for digital audiences. This has led to successful unionization efforts at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.
CNN reported that the email said "We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50 percent and re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news -- especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility. We know our readers look to us for a unique point of view, and we believe these topics offer our best opportunity to differentiate our reporting. We will, of course, continue to cover local news, sports and other events, but our approach will evolve as we adapt to our current environment."
In his own statement, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the layoffs will “undoubtedly devastate many households and hurt an important New York institution and one of our nation’s journalism giants.”
He also cited how his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo aided the New York Post - the Daily News’ rival - in a time of need.
“These layoffs were made without notifying the state for assistance,” Gov. Cuomo said. “My father, as governor, came to the aid of the New York Post when it was facing difficult financial times. Even though the post represented an opposing active partisan interest, my father understood the value of a robust free press. So do I.
“I urge Tronc to reconsider this drastic move and stand ready to work with them to avert this disaster. I understand that large corporations often only see profit and dividends s a bottom line. But in New York, we also calculate loss of an important institution, loss of jobs, and the impact on families affected. New York State stands ready to help.”
On Twitter, the Daily News posted “You may know us for our provocative front pages. But there's a reason the Daily News is known as "New York's Hometown Newspaper," adding "we believe local journalism is so important. #SupportLocalJournalism."
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