NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York tabloid Daily News will cut half of its newsroom staff, saying it wants to focus more on digital news.
The paper was sold to tronc Inc. last year for $1, with the owner of the Chicago Tribune assuming liabilities and debt.
In an email sent to staff Monday, tronc said staff at the Daily News will focus on breaking news involving “crime, civil justice and public responsibility.”
Revenue and print circulation have been sliding at the newspaper for years, even as it provided critical coverage of health issues in public housing and for first responders after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Revenue slid 22 percent between 2014 and 2016, and the paper had already been letting people go.
“Since the year began, we’ve worked hard to transform the New York Daily News into a truly digitally-focused enterprise – one that creates meaningful journalism, delivers it more quickly and more frequently, and develops new approaches to engage our readers,” an email sent to staff said. “We’ve gained a deeper understanding of our readership. We’ve redefined our structures. But we have not gone far enough.”
Editor-in-chief Jim Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee are both included in the layoffs.
Local leaders took to social media to speak out about the newspaper cuts.
“It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with the Daily News from time to time,” posted Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged tronc to reconsider their business decision, noting the state was given no warning about the move.
“My father, as Governor, came to the aid of the New York Post when it was facing difficult financial times,” posted Cuomo. “Even though the Post represented an opposing active partisan interest, my father understood the value of a robust free press. So do I.”
Robert York, editor of tronc-owned The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, will take over as editor of The Daily News.
tronc Inc., based in Chicago, owns the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, and other media operations.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)