The publisher of one of New York’s last remaining daily tabloids said its business had been “drastically disrupted” by the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
During a series of calls with staffers on Wednesday, New York Post publisher Sean Giancola, announced that the company will take significant cost-cutting measures to keep the publication afloat following the “significant decrease in the advertising demand,” as business closures have shrunk budgets.
People familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that more than a dozen staffers were laid off. “The paper is dying,” said one staffer who was axed.
Over the past several weeks, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post has told its part-time staff of “runners”—the street reporters who feed copy back to the newsroom—that they would be receiving months-long furloughs without pay until the crisis was over. The team that works on the paper’s luxury supplement Alexa were also furloughed last Friday alongside a number of staffers from the sports department.
But in Wednesday’s meeting, Giancola said the Post would take a number of additional steps. The publication plans to freeze all new hiring, cut and even eliminate most freelance budgets, and lay off staff. And while the publisher said that he planned on bringing back furloughed staff after several months, he said he could not guarantee further layoffs in the near future.
“In light of the industry's challenges, cost saving measures are being taken, which include job reductions from commercial, operations, and editorial,” a Post spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “This step has been taken reluctantly to ensure the stability and long-term sustainability of our brands. The Post family deeply appreciates the many contributions of the trusted professionals who are moving on at this difficult time.”
“I would be remiss if I wasn’t honest with everyone and say the future is very uncertain in media and in business, and that could change,” Giancola said, noting the Post did not have immediate plans for more layoffs.
The cuts come after News Corp announced they would stop printing 60 newspapers in Murdoch’s native Australia and the appointment of consultants Deloitte to help slash costs and restructure the business down under that boasts mastheads including The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile across the pond Murdoch’s News U.K.—which owns The Times and The Sun—has asked some staff to take unpaid leave.
The Post’s top competitor, The New York Daily News, last week announced furloughs while other staffers were earlier hit with pay cuts of between 2-10% for any employee earning $67,000 or more.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Giancola said “drastically disrupted” in the meeting, not “drastically destroyed.” We regret the error.