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The conglomerate Tronc has absorbed the New York Daily News, cutting the professional staff by 50 percent. Photo: Jared Kofsky
The conglomerate Tronc has absorbed the New York Daily News, cutting the professional staff by 50 percent. Photo: Jared Kofsky

Goodbye New York Daily News

A powerful voice is lost at the most critical moment for American democracy.

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After the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017, the Washington Post’s slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" took on a new dimension.

Many anticipated the urgency that independent voices and investigative journalism would have in the subsequent months.

Historically, the indexes of democracy have been equated with freedom of the press and voices that remain highly critical of the government in power. Events such as the Watergate scandal are just one example of this.

But this week, an announcement made the news community’s hair stand on end: the New York Daily News will cut its professional staff to less than half in an effort to "refocus the newspaper," reported NBC News.

Employees at the once-most-read media outlet in the country learned via e-mail that their positions would be eliminated, including its editor-in-chief, Jim Rich, and its managing editor, Kristen Lee.

Rich wrote on Twitter that "If you hate democracy and you think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you."

The New York newspaper will go to the media conglomerate Tronc, who bought it last September for the sum of $1, assuming operating costs and pension liabilities, Variety explained.

"We are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News," reads the email sent by Tronc to the staff. "We are reducing today the size of the editorial team by approximately 50% and refocusing much of our talent on breaking news - especially in areas of crime, civil justice, and public responsibility."

The transformation of digital and broadcast platforms has hit print media severely in recent decades, the Pew Research Center explained.

"At least 36% of the largest newspapers across the United States - as well as at least 23% of the highest-traffic digital-native news outlets - experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018," according to the study. "Among newspapers, those with the highest circulation were most likely to be affected."

And the New York Daily News has been one of them, now becoming a subsidiary of Tronc’s headquarters in Chicago after almost 100 years of history, 11 Pulitzer Prizes, and thousands of emblematic covers that have been proof of America’s journalism history.

"This is a such a loss for the city," said Zach Haberman, former breaking news editor for the media outlet, according to the Huffington Post. "On the macro level, it’s a loss for the residents of New York, it’s a loss for journalism and so many journalists who work so hard. On a micro level, it’s a loss for a lot of really good people who will be looking for jobs in a tough market. They’re gritty. That's what it means to be at the Daily News."

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