Jim Rich’s second run as editor-in-chief of the Daily News ended on Monday as part of a staggering 50 percent cut in staff.
Tronc, the paper’s Chicago-based parent, named Robert York, the editor of the Allentown Morning Call, to the top job effective July 30. York becomes the paper’s fourth editor in 10 months.
“We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News,” an email from Tronc to the staff on Monday read. “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.”
Sports and the photo desk were expected to be particularly hard hit in the latest round of cuts, insiders said.
Tronc bought the 99-year old tabloid from real estate mogul Mort Zuckerman for $1 in September — and has been cutting back-office personnel as well as design and production staffers. Much of the design and production work has been out-sourced to Chicago.
The latest cuts — expected to play out over two days — mark the first major cutback of reporters, columns and editors since the takeover. The expectation is that the company plans to refocus most of its efforts on digital.
“The decisions being announced today reflect the realities and the need to adapt an ever-changing media environment,” Tronc said in the email. “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.”
Inside the paper’s newsroom on Monday, confusion reigned.
The 9 a.m. meeting — which lasted all of one minute, sources said — did little to clear up who was being cut, outside of Rich and Managing Editor Kristen Lee.
“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,” said the email.
Rich had already tipped his hand earlier on Twitter when changed his job description from Daily News Editor-in-Chief to “Just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction.”
Among the confirmed cuts, Zach Haberman, the breaking news editor.
Outside the Daily News headquarters, editor Dan Good was seen consoling Haberman. On Twitter, Haberman simply tweeted, “-30-” — a classic journalism code for the end of the story.
In Sports, the staff of 34 reporters and columnists was being cut to 9, insiders said.
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