The New York Daily News was not my cup of tea over the last few years, but I respected the men and women who worked there as competitors and some as friends.
So the news on Monday that 50% of the editors and writers were being laid off hurt.
The paper had the misfortune of being owned by Mort Zuckerman — its latest benefactor — at a time when he became ill. His family and estate disposed of the paper because there was no love of newspapers or the heavy losses that needed to be made good by his estate.
Unfortunately, that’s what many newspapers have become today. Vanity projects for the rich and wanna-be famous who can fund these companies. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, Warren Buffett has a string of papers in the Midwest.
So the Daily News was sold to a private equity firm masquerading as a publishing house for $1 by Zuckerman estate, but even with that low-ball price the PE firm cut jobs and outsourced production tasks in an attempt to make money.
The plan to build a coast-to-coast newspaper chain failed and now the pieces had to be broken up.
Fortunately, I work for The New York Post. Rupert Murdoch and his family are newspaper people for decades and are committed to their future.
I feel for the good people who work at the Daily News, but I have little regard for people who rue its demise, but have not bought a newspaper in 10 years because they get it free online.
Newspaper people can’t eat on web hits alone. Ad dollars from print are needed to sustain the paper. So if you want to help a paper survive, buy the damn thing and put down your phone or tablet for a while.