The parent company of the New York Daily News on Monday confirmed the newspaper staff’s worst fears: Tronc is gutting the iconic New York tabloid with a 50 percent slash of its editorial staff.
In an email to staff sent without a name attached, the company said that the cuts “reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,” and that the Daily News would be “re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news—especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.”
“The Daily News is in a solid position to lead tronc’s transformation and become the newsroom of the future,” the memo, obtained by The Daily Beast, continued. “But realizing that potential requires committing to our digital audience and focusing our resources on the content and approaches that our readers find most relevant."
The memo also announced that Editor in Chief Jim Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee will leave the company. Robert York, formerly the publisher of Pennsylvania’s Morning Call newspaper, will become the new Daily News chief editor at the end of the month.
Although Rich had reportedly balked at the staff reductions imposed by Tronc, the Daily News’ parent company, the memo said that other editorial leaders learned about the depth of the cuts for the first time on Monday.
Among the many slashes at the News, The Daily Beast has learned that 25 staffers on the paper’s sports desk have lost their jobs.
Staff had been bracing for cuts for weeks as rumors circulated that parent company Tronc, which has become notorious for aggressively slashing editorial staff on the papers it owns, was eyeing major reductions at the Daily News.
Over the past several years, Tronc has made sweeping cuts at some of the country's most famous newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
Employees reacted in dismay at the severity and impersonal nature of the cuts.
“Make no mistake—this is the death of local journalism in this city,” one senior Daily News staffer told The Daily Beast.
“It’s dead quiet in here,” another said. “Lots of hugs, lots of tears.”
“Everyone is pretty devastated,” a third staffer told The Daily Beast. “Those who are still there are demoralized and have no desire to be part of what’s left.”