New York Daily News slashes half its newsroom staff

Former New York Daily News newspaper editorial staff members embrace outside the newspaper's offices in New York City after layoffs in New York. (Reuters)

The New York Daily News, the tabloid known for its provocative headlines, made its own news Monday by slashing half its editorial staff, in the latest retrenchment in the newspaper sector.

The century-old daily owned by the media conglomerate Tronc said in an email to employees that the move was made to address the newspaper’s “significant financial challenges.”

The editorial staff will be cut by some 50 percent as the newspaper looks at a fundamental restructuring to focus on breaking news, mainly in areas of “crime, civil justice and public responsibility,” according to the note to staff, which was widely circulated on Twitter.

“The decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt to an ever-changing media environment,” the memo said.

Top editors Jim Rich and Kristen Lee are departing as part of the reorganization, with the new editor-in-chief Robert York coming from the Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Rich said in a tweet on the latest cuts: “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.”

The newspaper is known for some of the boldest front pages in the industry, including one last week with a cartoon image of President Donald Trump shooting Uncle Sam while holding hands with Russian leader Vladimir Putin below a headline that reads: “Open Treason.”

Among its most famous was the “Ford to City: Drop Dead” in 1975 when then president Gerald Ford refused federal aid to stave off the Big Apple’s imminent municipal bankruptcy.

In 2016, it reprised that theme with the headline “Drop Dead, Ted,” after Senator Ted Cruz denounced “New York values” in a Republican presidential primary debate.

But the daily has faced the same financial troubles as much of the newspaper industry.

In 2017, Tronc purchased the Daily News for $1, while assuming its pension liabilities, after previous owner Mort Zuckerman had been absorbing losses estimated at $30 million annually.

The Daily News has won 11 Pulitzer Prizes since its founding in 1919, including one last year for its reporting on police abuse of eviction rules to oust poor residents from their homes.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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