New York Daily News hacks at sports coverage, the paper's heart

Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:58pm EDT
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By Daniel Bases

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The daily fare of a big city tabloid such as the New York Daily News includes provocative gossip, arresting headlines, snappy features and at its heart and soul, sports.

That's why sweeping layoffs in its sports department on Wednesday caught many off-guard.

"It doesn't bode well for that newspaper continuing. In fact, if they continue and gut the sports department ... I'm not sure why one would bother to buy it at the newsstand or as a business," said Mike Cramer, director of The Texas Program in Sports and Media at the University of Texas-Austin.

Publisher Mort Zuckerman tried to sell the paper this year but found no buyers. He had wanted $200 million.

"The best estimates are it loses between $20 million and $30 million a year," said Ken Doctor, media analyst for Newsonomics in Santa Cruz, California.

How much Zuckerman will spend to keep propping up the newspaper at a time when print advertising revenue industry-wide has fallen precipitously, is the main question, Doctor said.

He added: "The audience doesn't need to consider the Daily News as a must read for sports as much as it did 10 years ago."

Several members of the sports staff reported on Twitter that they had been cut, including well-known writers Bill Hammond, Filip Bondy and Wayne Coffey, along with former managing editor for sports Teri Thompson. Rival newspapers said baseball writer Bill Madden also lost his job.   Continued...

Copies of the New York Daily News are displayed on a newsstand in New York's Times Square March 31, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid