The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s first attempt at producing a digital-only newspaper, has announced that almost a third of its present employees are to be “released.” Rumours of its imminent demise have dogged the title since it was reportedly placed ‘on watch’ in July.
Of the 170 members of staff employed at The Daily, 50 will lose their jobs. The Sports and Opinion sections, which suffered from light traffic levels, will be particularly hit by the cuts as executives aim to reduce expenditure in underperforming departments. A memo sent to employees by Editor-in-Chief Jesse Angelo explained: “Sports reporting will now be provided by content partners, like Fox Sports […] The Daily will no longer have a standalone Opinion section. Opinion pieces and editorials will appear in the news pages, clearly marked, from time to time as appropriate.” Further efficiency measures include “locking the app in portrait mode,” meaning that digital pages will only be available in vertical layout, with no horizontal formatting option.
News Corp. reiterated its dedication to the ailing digital paper, claiming that the planned restructuring would “enable the business to operate more efficiently and with even greater focus on the types of content that consumers have gravitated towards since its launch.” The Daily’s newly created weekend edition, WKND, will continue unchanged and sources close to the publication insist that the paper will not be changing any other parts of its strategy.
Many of News Corp.’s other news publications have been forced to undergo similar cost reduction measures in preparation for the impending divorce of the company’s entertainment and publishing arms. AllThingsD reports that executives at the WSJ have already lost their positions, and Dow Jones will no longer produce print versions of its personal finance magazine SmartMoney.
Described by The New York Times as a “victim of high expectations” The Daily has so far failed to make much of an impact on the world of digital publishing, despite being ranked as the 3rd highest-grossing paid app of 2011. These latest developments will do nothing to dispel fears that Murdoch’s costly experiment is on its last legs.