In case you missed this—and you likely didn’t miss this—the New York Daily News is pretty much in the grave.
Today its new owner, Tronc, slashed half the staff and fired Jim Rich, the editor. He will be replaced by Robert York, some business-first guy from San Diego who has no business holding the position. A statement was issued by someone named Grant Whitmore that is as tone deaf as it was insulting. “I firmly believe that today’s actions will position The Daily News for growth in the years ahead. And I look forward to working with this group to capture the opportunities in front of us.”
I’ve actually seen this move 100 times before, and it never ends well. I was at The Tennessean when Gannett began gutting it. A good friend was at TV Guide when a huge chunk of staffers were fired on a Monday, and Tuesday was Milkshake Day to make everyone feel better. I was at Sports Illustrated when our investment plan was replaced by AOL stock options—and the company sent us all congratulatory notes. Corporate bullshit has killed news agencies for years, and it will continue.
That said, this feels different. Thanks in large part to the conman in Washington, Americans seem to be—in large chunks—rooting for media to fail. They want to be fed lies by leaders and have no one fact check. They want to follow orders, sans thought or protest. They want to be bullied. It’s what we’ve become, and the Daily News’ collapse is surely being celebrated in many pro-Trump corners.
But not here. Not today.
In the Pearlman household, the news feels like a funeral.
A funeral of editorial freedom.