New York Daily News
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
24 July 2018
The true cost of the New York Daily News cuts
It’s a simple sign of the times that the infamous New York Daily News cuts 50% of its editorial staff – and it represents just another day for newspapers.
Tronc, which also recently cut staff at The Chicago Tribune and sold The Los Angeles Times, announces that it’s focusing on breaking news. In essence, headline grabbers to collect clicks.
We all know the newspaper industry keeps falling down into the abyss. Staffs are cut everywhere. A colleague here at Stealing Share says his old newspaper, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has cut its editorial staff so much it fits into the old lunch room. That is, before a competitor –with a stronger online presence – bought it and folded it up.
Newspapers such as the New York Daily News have lost their relevancy in an era where website clicks generate ad revenue. It’s not all that dissimilar from advertising in print media. In theory. But those old newspaper models earned most of its change from the classified ads and other sections, such as auto sales and real estate.
Those, though, left for other online venues like Monster and Zillow. Newspapers like the New York Daily News became slow to adopt, moving slug-like to set an online presence. In fact, many were trapped because they offered their content for free. Then, when some tried to install pay walls, readers revolted.
“Today, more than ever, we need investigative journalism that keeps corruption at all levels in check. The reason Fake News can exist is because there’s few outlets that can actually set the record straight.”
The danger of the new focus of the New York Daily News
So that’s how the New York Daily News finds itself today. Its online traffic drops 35% from year to year, and Tronc makes a harsh financial decision.
But there’s a sneaky disturbing trend to all this. The new focus of the New York Daily News is breaking news, which is just journalism-speak for click bait. Today, more than ever, we need investigative journalism that keeps corruption at all levels in check. The reason Fake News can exist is because there’s few outlets that can actually set the record straight.
Will we reach the point where nothing digs deeper than just the shiny surfaces? It’s nostalgic to yearn for the days of Woodward and Bernstein, but it’s more than that. The Washington Post gave that reporting duo time to work on one story. Time newspapers don’t have anymore.
So, while the axing of New York Daily News reporters and editors seems like the way of the newspaper world. Remember that there’s a price to pay for this trend. As axed editor-in-chief Jim Roth says on Twitter, “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.”
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