Pink slips for a dozen-plus ‘Daily News’ staffers; vets Joanna Molloy and Albor Ruiz among them

Joanna Molloy, working. (Gawker)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

The Daily News is now undergoing what employees of the tabloid have been fearing for weeks: Multiple insiders tell Capital that layoffs have hit the newsroom today.

Several sources put the total number of pink slips at around 15.

RELATED, DEVELOPING: IN A SECOND DAY OF LAYOFFS AT THE NEWS, BOROUGHS DESKS EXPECTED TO TAKE HITS.

Two high-profile bylines we've confirmed to be among the laid-off Newsers so far are columnists Albor Ruiz and Joanna Molloy, both longtime veterans of the paper. Ruiz will continue to freelance for the News, according to a source familiar with the situation.

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

The news of Molloy's termination was particularly shocking. She's arguably the most famous writer still at the paper, having helmed its gossip pages for 15 years with her husband, George Rush, who took a buyout in 2010.

That marked the end of their joint column, "Rush & Molloy," which had become a well-established New York institution. Molloy then became a general news columnist, and just last month she was on "Charlie Rose" holding up copies of the Daily News' page-one gun-control crusade as an example of why tabloids in general, and the News under Colin Myler's editorship in particular, were doing important work nobody else could do.

A source familiar with Molloy's plans said she has a gig lined up writing content for a mobile app that covers New York City and that she's been approached about writing a book on the history of New York's tabloids.

Sources said other names on the list include reporters Christina Boyle and Robert Gearty and editorial writers Stephen McFarland and Alexander Nazaryan, who also writes the paper's books blog.

Those who are affected are being told that the headcount reduction is a result of a "restructuring" at the paper with an emphasis on digital, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

The News has been ramping up its digital operation this past year in a bid to capture national advertising dollars and grow its online reader base outside of New York. Two weeks ago, in a sign of its web ambitions, two major promotions were announced under digital editor Ted Young, a Mail Online alumnus imported last year by Myler, a fellow Brit.

Myler characterized the promotions in a memo as part of a "general restructuring of our digital and business development operation."

The News is the fifth most widely-read newspaper in the U.S., although its combined print and digital average weekday circulation slipped 11 percent year-over-year to 516,165 during the six-month period between October and March, according to data released last week by the Alliance for Audited Media.

Over the past month, chatter about layoffs has been spreading throughout the newsroom, with insiders speculating about a series of ominous closed-door meetings among Daily News brass. Today's cuts mark the first extensive culling since November 2011, several months before Myler took over as editor-in-chief.

"The Daily News does not comment on personnel matters," a spokesperson told Capital when reached for comment.