O’Dwyers: Thoughts from a PR Exec on NY Daily News Layoffs

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Marino COO and Managing Director, John Marino, weighed in on the recent layoffs at the New York Daily News  and reflected on the changing media landscape in a piece published this week by O’Dwyer’s.

Per the article:

Last Monday morning, New Yorkers were hit with the announcement that Tronc – the Chicago based company which last year bought the New York Daily News from longtime owner Mort Zuckerman – would be firing half of its editorial staff later that afternoon. For those of us in the public relations industry or really anyone who cares about the continued deprivation of committed individuals to provide hard-hitting, investigative journalism in a city like New York, this was a real blow.

The company laid off veteran reporters and editors, not to mention almost its entire photography department and all of its social media team. In an email to the newsroom, Tronc management, calling this shift a “vital transformation by way of focusing less on local news and sports” (the company let go 25 sports reporters), wrote:

The decisions being announced today reflect the realities of our business and the need to adapt an ever-changing media landscape. They are not a reflection on the significant talent that is leaving.

Our agency – which is proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year – was founded at a time when New York still had a host of daily newspapers from which its residents could rely upon for news and commentary on the workings of a city that never sleeps. The Daily News was a steady source to be sure, but we also had the New York PostNew York Newsdaythe Village Voice, the New York Observer, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (the latter two had dedicated metro desks and a full section devoted to local news until only a few years ago), as well as dozens of weekly publications littered throughout the city working borough by borough on local news that mattered to neighborhoods from Bensenhurst to the Bronx. Great writers like Pete Hamil and Jimmy Breslin made the News their homes and produced tremendous work year after year.

Obviously, for those of us who follow the news business closely, this week’s announcement was only the latest example of companies which own publications dramatically reducing its workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, more than one-third of the biggest newspapers in the country suffered layoffs between January of 2017 and April of this year. The Denver Post, the Seattle Times,and the Oregonian, to name a few, have seen massive cuts to its workforces over that time and others have struggled to merely stay afloat.

The reasons for such huge reductions are clearly evident. Since the widespread use of the internet took hold in the 1990’s, newspapers have allowed much of its content to live online and customers, who once had to pay to buy a physical copy of the papers, now have access to hundreds of digital news sites –  many still at no cost. Competition is fierce, and even the best of the best have struggled to keep up with the changing nature of the news business. Venerable publications like the Washington Post, which used to offer completely free website content, instituted a stricter paywall last year, allowing readers 10 free articles per month. Other news sites have enforced even stricter policies regarding who can and cannot see its online content without a paid subscription.

 

For the full article, click here.