The New York Daily News plans to outsource its printing operations to the North Jersey Media Group, which prints the Bergen Record, the Passaic County Herald News and the Morris County Daily Record.
A well-informed source, who called the move a “disaster”, said the change could result in the layoff of more than 200 employees. A union spokesperson representing affected employees did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Daily News’ printing operations could potentially move from its state-of-the-art, 15-year-old Liberty View facility in Jersey City to an older, non-union plant in Woodland Park, New Jersey. It’s unclear how much the 102-year-old newspaper could save in the move.
Sources familiar with the situation say union representatives are still hoping to keep the facility open by offering cost cuts that would help it meet certain financial goals, but it’s unclear if that’s even an option. If this is not the case, the two parties will negotiate on the remuneration of the employees.
The newspaper, which was sold by Tribune Publishing in early 2021 to Alden Global Capital, a New York-based hedge fund, as part of the company’s acquisition of Tribune Publishing, has come under pressure to cut costs significantly.
In a memo to staff on Tuesday, Daily News chief executive Michael Gates said “previous ownership of the public company” had planned to discontinue the print edition, but “current ownership is committed to keeping the newspaper in print and this now requires us to find efficiencies that have become common in the industry by identifying a partner to manage production.
He said the newspaper planned to start negotiations with the unions representing the workers affected and that he hoped a “final agreement” would be reached “by March 12”.
Gates added that moving the paper’s production would help fuel continued investment in the company’s digital growth.
“The New York Daily News is offering this step to help offset the continued decline in printing revenue exacerbated by the pandemic,” Gates said.
Gates noted that the change would not result in any change to what readers or advertisers see in the daily, adding: “Our newspaper delivery to homes and to retail will also not be disrupted by the proposed print change. “
A representative for the Daily News had no comment.
Under Alden, the Daily News replaced its editor Robert York with Andrew Julien, who served as editor of the paper’s sibling, the Hartford Courant.
The Daily News and the Courant also made buyouts, allowing the publications to reduce the number of already meager mastheads. At the time, the NewsGuild, the union that represents journalists at the two publications, said only eight Daily News staff and five Courant employees took the buyouts.
The move is an increasingly common cost-cutting measure among print publications, which are dealing with declining print readership. Similar actions have been taken recently by newspapers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Tampa Bay Times and the Kansas City Star.
In 2020, News Corp., owner of The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s, moved its printing operations from its South Bronx plant to a New York Times plant in College Point, Queens, which is unionized.