New York Daily News Owner Mortimer Zuckerman, announced on Thursday, February 27 that he has retained a financial firm to explore selling the paper that has come to define the spirit of New York.
By Carmen Glover
On Thursday, February 26, two days after the death of journalism diversity champion Dori J. Maynard, Mortimer Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News, emailed staffers announcing that the venerable paper is up for sale. The email, which was published in the paper, provided an interesting read.
“I want to share with you a new development regarding the company. A few weeks ago, we were approached about our potential interest in selling the Daily News. Although there were no immediate plans to consider a sale, we thought it would be prudent to explore the possibility and talk to potential buyers and/or investors. To help us with the process, I have retained Lazard, a leading financial advisory firm,” Zuckerman said in the email.
“I have not come to this decision easily. But I believe the immense hard work in turning the business around in an extremely challenging period for the industry, has put the Daily News in as strong a position than it has ever been, particularly online. I appreciate that this news is difficult for you to digest. But I want to reassure you that my aim throughout this process will be to do the right thing for the business to ensure the Daily News and its brilliant staff have the best opportunity to achieve all our future ambitions.”
Prior to the bombshell news, the Daily News have made copious changes, not all good. For instance, almost all of the African-American print writers were terminated or left amid what some described as a “climate of uncertainty.” Among those who left the paper last summer were Michael Feeney, out-going president of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) and Jennifer Cunningham, both of whom wrote for the borough section of the paper. Clem Richardson, whose columns were insightful and informative, also left the paper.
As the size of the paper dwindled, so did the borough sections, which residents outside of Manhattan eagerly anticipated reading. The borough sections were discontinued recently and the Daily News print staff is no longer representative of the diverse New York City in which the paper is published. On Friday, February 27, Mediabistro.com reported that figures from the Alliance for Audited Media tallied the Daily News’ combined print and digital circulation numbers at 427,452 on weekdays and 558,057 on Sundays, compared to the New York Post, which tallied 497,878 weekdays and 454,007 on Sundays for the six month period ending September 2014.
Zukerman, who has enjoyed success as a real estate developer, purchased the Daily News in 1993. At the time, there was a noticeable mix of African-American print writers on staff. During Zuckerman’s time at the helm of the paper, Feeney and former staffer Warren Woodberry, were named president of NYABJ. In what is considered the media capital of the world, it is a jolt of reality to journalists to see that their value at one of the leading daily newspapers, based on numbers, is non-existent. It is also a somber reality that journalists of color can no longer find opportunities at a paper with which many New Yorkers have identified strongly in the past.–OnPointPress.net.