The New York Daily News announced on Tuesday that the tabloid-style newspaper -- best known for its bizarre front pages slamming Republican President Donald Trump -- to “fundamentally restructure” its focus on “its digital audience.”
A memo released by the newspaper’s executives stated: “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.”
“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,” the memo added.
The tabloid’s human resources department promised to “reach out to all affected employees by the end of the day on Monday, and layoffs are effective immediately, but exiting staffers will be paid for the next 90 days.”
These decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,” the memo continued. “They are not a reflection on the significant talent that is leaving today.”
In a Twitter post, former editor-in-chief Jim Rich left an angry message: “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.”
Brian Flood, who covers the media for the Fox News Channel, posted an article stating:
The Daily News has become known for its outlandish, anti-Trump cover images. The paper recently featured an illustration depicting Trump as a Supreme Court justice with the headline: "We Are F*#%’d.”
The paper has also depicted Trump as numerous variations of a clown, a racist, “nuts,” the “anti-Christ” and even the poop emoji.
“The tabloid called Trump voters ‘mindless zombies’ and even categorized Trump as a ‘Dead Clown Walking’ when he failed to win the Iowa caucus in 2016,” Flood continued.
He also noted “the tabloid that was fond of ‘over-the-top’ anti-Trump coverage could not stem years of red ink.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, the Daily News posted a cover in mid-May that described the President’s daughter -- Ivanka Trump -- as “Daddy's Little Ghoul.”
Soon after, Politico reported that some members of management felt the anti-Trump direction of the paper was having a negative impact on the paper’s bottom line by “costing the News subscriptions in places like Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.” Despite all that ill will, Cuomo had a different response to the news:
Tronc acquired the paper from Mort Zuckerman in 2017 for only $1, assuming liabilities and debt in the process.
The paper had been losing money for years, as part of a trend faced by print newspapers competing for advertising dollars with digital behemoths like Facebook and Google.
The governor also stated: “The Daily News, now owned by Tronc, Inc., is apparently firing a major portion of its reporting staff,” which “will undoubtedly devastate many households and hurt an important New York institution and one of our nation’s journalistic giants.”
“These layoffs were made without notifying the state or asking for assistance," he noted. “My father, as governor, came to the aid of the New York Post when it was facing difficult financial times. Even though the Post represented an opposing active partisan interest, my father understood the value of a robust, free press. So do I.”
“I urge Tronc to reconsider this drastic move,” Cuomo noted, “and I stand ready to work with them to avert this disaster.”
Of course, if the government contributes to this or any other newspaper, those officials will probably want some say regarding the future of the Daily News or other institution, regardless of whether that comes from Cuomo or Trump.