The New York Daily News on Monday announced massive layoffs as its parent company moves to restructure the financially troubled paper.
New York Daily News staffers received an email on Sunday requesting them to “plan to be in the New York newsroom on Monday at 9 a.m. for an important message,” delivered by Grant Whitmore, a Tronc regional manager.
“We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News,” the email reads. “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.”
“The decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,” the email continued. “They are not a reflection on the significant talent that is leaving today. Let there be no doubt: these colleagues are highly valued and will be missed.”
Both Jim Rich and Kristen Lee, serving as editor-in-chief and managing editor respectively, will exit the paper.
Rich early Monday morning hinted job cuts would hit the paper. “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you,” he wrote.
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
Morning Call‘s Robert York will take over its newsroom at the end of July. The paper’s Human Resources department will formally notify those laid off by the end of the day.
Reacting to the layoffs, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement urging Tronc to “reconsider” the “drastic move” and pledged to work with the media giant to “avert this disaster.”
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 23, 2018
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took to Twitter to describe Troncs’ decision to fire half of the New York Daily News’ editorial department as “greedy.” “Tronc should sell the paper to someone committed to local journalism and keeping reporters on the beat,” the 2020 hopeful wrote.
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.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 23, 2018
Tronc in 2017 scooped up the New York Daily News for $1 and immediately began shifting jobs from New York to its head office in Chicago. At the time of sale, the paper’s long-term pension liability was at least $100 million and losing $30 million annually. The New York Daily News in February fired two editors after a sexual harassment scandal rocked the paper.
The paper has published a handful of provocative front pages mocking President Trump. On July 4, the New York Daily News depicted the president on its front page as a “clown who plays king.”
Happy Birthday, America! https://t.co/4dPHLNrb9y
An early look at Wednesday's front… pic.twitter.com/3I4mt72Xoh
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 4, 2018
The paper’s Independence Day edition cover featured a photoshopped image of President Trump wearing clown makeup and a broken gold crown, with an American flag behind him. “Happy Birthday, America!” read the tagline with the headline: “The clown who plays king can’t overthrow the bedrock values this nation was founded on 242 years ago today.”
The paper was also highly critical of President Trump inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C. for a second summit in the fall.
Guess who's coming to dinner https://t.co/il6KVDlYcQ
An early look at Friday's front… pic.twitter.com/vlSn8akTAN
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 20, 2018
The paper ran a front-page portraying President Trump smirking as he sits behind a shirtless Putin on horseback with the headline: “Who’s Your Vladdy!”