New York Daily News slashes staff in half
The New York tabloid Daily News cut half of its newsroom staff Monday including Jim Rich, the paper’s editor in chief.
The paper was sold to Chicago-based publisher Tronc last year for $1, with the owner of the Chicago Tribune assuming liabilities and debt.
In an email sent to staff Monday, Tronc said staff at the Daily News will focus on breaking news involving “crime, civil justice and public responsibility.”
The newspaper has been a key fixture in New York City for the last century. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for its work with ProPublica on the abuse of eviction rules in New York City.
It also received a Pulitzer for raising awareness about health issues faced by first responders following the collapse of New York City’s twin towers following the Sept. 11 attacks.
“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.
New York Governor Andrew M. 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.”
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 Sept. 11 attacks.
Revenue slid 22 percent between 2014 and 2016, and the paper had already been letting people go.
Editor-in-chief Jim Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee were both let go.
Robert York, editor of tronc-owned The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will take over as editor of the Daily News.
“The reporters at the Daily News are some of the very best in the business. I am heartbroken for them today, and for New York,” said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood. “We need strong local newspapers to hold those in power to account.”
Tronc also owns the Baltimore Sun, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Daily Press, Virginian-Pilot and Allentown Morning Call.
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