In the harshest referendum yet about the success of News Corporation's tablet newspaper The Daily, the publication, which launched in 2011, is laying off 50 of its 170 employees, All Things Digital's Peter Kafka reports. News Corp., which plans to split its profitable broadcasting concerns from its unprofitable print concerns (including The Daily) had put the year-and-a-half-old publication "on watch," The New York Observer's Kat Stoeffel reported earlier this month. Stoeffel's sources had it that the paper would be reassessed after the election on November 6. Jesse Angelo, The Daily's editor, reassured staff in a memo two weeks ago that referred to "misinformed, untrue rumors of our imminent demise."
That the axe fell now, rather than three months from now, suggests things are more dire at The Daily than anybody had thought. The publication was already reportedly losing $30 per year, both Stoeffel and The New York Times' Amy Chozik noted. According All Things D's Kafka, the bulk of the cuts will take place in the editorial page and the sports section. But other departments, including design and production, will also see cuts. The Daily employee with perhaps the largest stake in the paper's success would be publisher Greg Clayman, who just bought a $1.16 million townhouse co-op in Brooklyn Heights, The Observer's Kim Velsey reported Tuesday with the extremely ill-timed lead sentence, "Despite rumors that NewsCorp’s The Daily has been put “on watch,” it seems that publisher Greg Clayman is feeling optimistic about the future."
The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone tweets that a staff meeting is set for today at 6 p.m in The Daily's newsroom.
Update (4:30 p.m. EDT): Daily editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo posted a statement that explains some of the section changes and alterations to the app. He wrote, in part:
The Daily was born of change. A changing technological landscape – the beginning of the tablet and smartphone revolution – made us want to rethink how we create media. And we believe that a healthy product and a healthy organization is one that continues to change.
Update (4:38 p.m. EDT): Kafka has updated his post with The Daily's press release announcing the "staff reorganization." In addition to the layoffs, the publication will get its sports coverage from partners such as Fox, and will no longer have a standalone opinion section. It will also start publishing in a portrait-only orientation. But the publication will continue to invest in "original reporting, strong visual elements, great photography and video, award-winning design, infographics, and interactivity," the release says.
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