The New York Daily News is cutting about half of its editorial team, including newsroom leaders like Editor in Chief Jim Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee.
Staffers at the iconic New York tabloid received an email Monday morning saying that the Daily News parent company Tronc is “fundamentally restructuring the Daily News,” CNN Money reported.
“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,” read the email, which was obtained by CNN. “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.”
As for the cut employees, those “exiting the business will leave immediately,” according to the email, though the staffers will be paid for the next 90 days.
Rich will reportedly be replaced by Robert York, the publisher and editor of The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Reactions to the Daily News cuts
Outrage over the cuts filled social media.
“It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with the Daily News from time to time,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter. “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.”
The Daily News has won 11 Pulitzer Prizes over its history, for work ranging from a 2017 investigative series with ProPublica on misuse of eviction laws in the city to the commentaries of Jimmy Breslin.
Its peak weekday circulation was 2.4 million in 1947 and it once sold more copies than any other newspaper in the United States. But that had plummeted to 200,000 by the time Tronc purchased the paper for $1 in 2017.
It is known for one of the most famous newspaper headlines in U.S. history, “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” following a 1975 speech by President Gerald Ford that denied the city financial aid as it tottered on the brink of bankruptcy.
The New York layoffs are the latest in a series of cuts at Tronc’s media holdings. In April, the company laid off several dozen staffers at the Los Angeles Times, a month after a round of cuts at its flagship property, The Chicago Tribune.