New York Daily News' new editor asks remaining staff for 30 days to chart new course

As he takes over a newsroom that was just reduced by half, the New York Daily News' new top editor, Robert York, is a...

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 11:10 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 11:10 PM

As he takes over a newsroom that was just reduced by half, the New York Daily News' new top editor, Robert York, is asking his embattled staff for time to chart a new course.

Addressing the newspaper's employees for the first time on Tuesday, York asked those remaining in the newsroom to stay at the Daily News for 30 days to give him time to demonstrate that he is taking the publication in the right direction, according to a staff member who was present.

But York heard complaints that the Daily News sports department had been gutted by Monday's layoffs, as well as open confusion over the long-term strategy of the tabloid's parent company, Tronc. The source said that York spent much of the meeting saying he might end up rebuilding and reorienting existing talent to cover the parts of the paper that have been eviscerated by the layoffs.

The hastily arranged meeting served as York's introduction to a Daily News staff still reeling from Tronc's announcement on Monday that the editorial team has been reduced by 50%.

Joining York in leading the hour-long meeting was Tronc executive vice president and general manager, Grant Whitmore.

They both encountered anger and frustration when they addressed the Daily News staff on Tuesday, according to an employee who was there. The source said that many employees were upset, and that there was "widespread confusion about why the layoffs happened before a strategic plan was developed."

At one point, Whitmore was asked why a strategy wasn't developed before the reductions were made.

"That's a very reasonable question," Whitmore said, according to an audio recording of the meeting, a portion of which was reviewed by CNN. "That is not the way we did it."

But Whitmore assured one staffer that there will be no more layoffs for the foreseeable future, and that he is not aware of any plans for Tronc to sell the Daily News. Tronc acquired the paper last September.

Multiple Daily News sources told CNN that staff wasn't informed of Tuesday's meeting until a half-hour before it began, meaning that several employees were unable to attend.

Those who did attend made for a "deeply skeptical audience," according to the source who was there.

A Tronc spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

York was most recently the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Morning Call, a Tronc-owned daily newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he worked since 2016. Before that, York served for 20 years at the San Diego Union-Tribune, another Tronc newspaper, which the company recently sold to investor Patrick Soon-Shiong along with the Los Angeles Times.

Related: Tronc will make cuts at other papers after NYDN layoffs

He steps in to replace Jim Rich, who appears to have stepped down as Daily News editor-in-chief under acrimonious circumstances. York did not respond to a request for comment.

Early Monday morning, hours before the layoffs became official, Rich fired off a cryptic tweet: "If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you." His Twitter bio is just as scathing: "Just a guy sitting at home watching journalism being choked into extinction." Rich did not respond to CNN's multiple request for comment amid Monday's layoffs.

An internal document that briefed senior Daily News staffers on how to communicate with employees about the layoffs said that Rich, along with managing editor Kristen Lee, "decided it was the right time to move on to a new challenge." The document, which was obtained by CNN, also indicated that the reductions were driven by Whitmore "in consultation with others at the Daily News and tronc."

The Daily News employee who attended Tuesday's meeting said that Whitmore took responsibility for the reductions, but he didn't elaborate when he was pressed on who he consulted before making the decision.

Whitmore did not respond to a request for comment.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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