Among those handed their walking papers was Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich, who tweeted today, “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.” (See it, and other responses, below).
Rich led the near-hundred-year-old paper during an era that saw its self-reinvigoration with irreverent, attention-demanding Page One eye-grabbers that in an earlier more newsstand-friendly era would certainly have been the talk of the city. “I’m With Stupid,” screamed the front page when Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump.
Today Rich’s Twitter bio read: “Just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction.”
In an email to staff from Tronc, delivered this morning, the company wrote, “We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News. 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. 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.”
Laid-off staff – individual staff members heading for the door will be notified by end of today – will receive 90 days of severance pay and transitional benefits.
The Chicago-based Tronc reportedly informed newsroom staffers via email on Sunday evening of an important 9 a.m. staff meeting with with executive vice president of digital Grant Whitmore. The tabloid’s longtime rival, The New York Post, reported today that Daily News baseball columnist John Harper, at Yankee Stadium last night when rain delayed the Yankees-Mets game, was among the Daily Newsers either bidding colleagues goodbye or anticipating a pink slip.
The Post cited sources in saying an outside security company has been hired for Monday and Tuesday when the layoffs will be carried out.
Tronc, owner of The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun, bought the New York paper last September for a token $1. Robert York, most recently the publisher and editor in chief of The Morning Call in easter Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, will be the Daily News’ new editor-in-chief.
Tronc previously owned The Los Angeles Times, where it laid off dozens of newsroom staffers before selling the paper to biotech entrepreneur Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
Over the decades, the Daily News has nabbed 11 Pulitzer Prizes. This past February, two high-level editors were sacked following a sexual harassment allegations.
Journalists weigh in: