New York Daily News Cuts 50 Percent of Editorial Team

Cuomo offers state assistance to the newspaper

A copy of New York Daily News / Getty Images
July 23, 2018

New York Daily News' parent company Tronc sent an email to the paper's employees on Monday that announced plans to cut 50 percent of its editorial team.

CNN obtained the email in which Tronc states the paper will cut the editorial staff and refocus on breaking 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 email reads. "We know our readers look to us for a unique point of view, and we believe these topics offer our best opportunity to differentiate our reporting. We will, of course, continue to cover local news, sports and other events, but our approach will evolve as we adapt to our current environment."

The email was left unsigned and was sent from Tronc's "talent and engagement" team.

Editor in chief Jim Rich and managing editor Kristen Lee will depart the company while Robert York becomes the editor in chief for the Daily News. York is the publisher and editor in chief of The Morning Call, a newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania that is also owned by Tronc.

Rich reportedly "balked" at the cuts and fought against them with executives. Rich has yet to comment on his departure but did tweet on Monday a message about the state of journalism at large.

"If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you," Rich tweeted.

Layoffs and cuts have been expected for some time at the paper. In was reported in November 2017 that the paper lost $90.4 million over the previous three years, according to regulatory filings, and Tronc executives were looking to restructure the newsroom.

Employees who are laid off will still receive a paycheck for 90 days and will be able to collect transitional benefits, according to the email.

"I know this is difficult news to hear and want to assure you we are working hard to treat each employee with respect and to make the transition as smooth as possible. With the exception of a few particular employees who are not in the office today, Human Resources will communicate with everyone leaving the Daily News by the end of the day. While our colleagues exiting the business will leave immediately, they will continue to be paid for the next 90 days and be eligible for transitional benefits after that," the email states.

Fellow journalists expressed their dissatisfaction with the news.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) released a statement about the layoffs and even offered assistance to the Daily News.

"I urge Tronc to reconsider this drastic move and stand ready to work with them to avert this disaster. I understand that large corporations often only see profit and dividends as a bottom line," Cuomo's statement reads. "But in New York, we also calculate loss of an important institution, loss of jobs, and the impact on the families affected. I hope Tronc does the same and recalculates its decision. New York State stands ready to help."

The Daily News is known for its provocative covers, which often disparage President Donald Trump and conservatives.