The New York Daily News has been around since 1919 but the paper has fallen on hard times in the past several years. Today, there was a brief meeting lasting less than one minute during which the paper’s remaining employees were informed of a new round of layoffs. From the NY Times:
The meeting lasted less than a minute. By the time it was over, reporters and editors at The Daily News had been told that the newsroom staff was being cut in half and that the editor in chief, Jim Rich, was out of a job…
It was not the first time The News had made sweeping cuts. In 2015, under Mr. Zuckerman’s ownership, the paper laid off dozens of employees, including virtually its entire digital team. A company that once had hundreds of employees has over the years dwindled to a newsroom staff of approximately 75 to 100.
Rich, the ousted editor, posted this statement on Twitter early Monday morning:
If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.
— Jim Rich (@therealjimrich) July 23, 2018
Governor Cuomo released a statement calling on the paper’s owner to reconsider:
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 23, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio was more blunt, labeling the company that owns the Daily News “greedy.”
It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with the Daily News from time to time. 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.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 23, 2018
That’s easy for de Blasio to say but, according to tabloid rival the NY Post, the Daily News has lost $90 million in the past 3 years. That’s obviously not a business plan that could continue forever.
Few of the articles about the layoff mention the paper’s political stance as part of the Trump resistance. NPR included one line about it: “The paper has also made a meal of the Donald Trump presidency from the populist left, depicting the New York-based real estate developer, long familiar to readers of its gossip pages, as a malevolent, autocratic and cartoonish figure.” Indeed, outside of New York, the paper is probably best known for splashy covers like these:
— Scoop Report (@ScoopReportnews) July 14, 2018
New York Daily News front cover says it all… pic.twitter.com/F5MmJ5AsJK
— Indivisible Network (@IndivisibleNet) June 20, 2018
The New York Daily News slammed Ivanka Trump as “Daddy’s Little Ghoul” in a Tuesday cover story mocking the first daughter as “seemingly oblivious” for attending the U.S. Embassy opening in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/fqQgboI0Uy
— Indivisible Network (@IndivisibleNet) May 16, 2018
— Chris Cillizza (@ChrisCillizza) June 8, 2016
The paper is also known for going all in on gun control:
Tomorrow’s cover of the New York Daily News is an eye opener.
— Tim Fullerton (@TimFullerton) February 15, 2018
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 3, 2015
Back in 2016, editor Mark Rich explained the covers were meant to be shareable on Facebook:
Just as tabloid covers used to amuse, inform, and outrage passersby on the sidewalk, enticing them to pick them up and read all about it, the Daily Newshas arguably been the most aggressive and successful newspaper brand at turning the old-school institution of a front page into an irresistibly “like”-able image on Facebook — at least for people who don’t care for the right-wing politics of the New York Post. “You’ve seen it with the gun issue; you’ve seen it with Trump,” Rich, 44, explained one afternoon in early January in the paper’s quarters downtown. “We don’t shy away from the controversial issue. You’ve seen publications on the right, but there’s a vacuum on the middle left on these issues, a consistent, strong voice, and I like to think we’re doing a decent job of filling that void.”
Whether this strategy can ultimately help save the storied, humbled paper itself is difficult to know. Newspapers are expensive operations, and it’s still hard to pay the bills with clicks. But at least something is back: the “sizzle.” The paper the Post used to taunt as the “Daily Snooze” has definitely woken up.
The sizzling headlines certainly got a lot of attention from the left, but clickbait obviously wasn’t enough to keep the paper going. The plan going forward is apparently to focus more on local issues like crime.