Major Layoffs at The Daily

Is 18 months of ambitious deficit financing enough to determine it is no longer worth pursuing a particular online news gathering path? Some would say yes, and today, that is exactly what News Corp. has decided.

Peter Kafka of All Things Digital was first with the news. His report was soon followed by a message from editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo and a public press release:

– A total of 50 full-time employees, 29 percent of the full-time staff, will be released.

– The Sports and Opinion sections, which saw the lightest traffic, are being reorganized. Sports reporting will now be provided by content partners, like Fox Sports, while existing features like photo galleries and the ability to track favorite teams via a customizable sports page will remain. 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.

– The Daily will move to a portrait-only orientation – the mode in which the vast majority of its readers view content – though video will still be viewable in landscape mode.

In the early comments to the Kafka piece, David Poole had this to add:

The problem with The Daily, and I was a subscriber on Day 1, is that the content was way too light… It read like a weekly and could not be construed as news. Also, the navigation metaphor was frequently shifting and often clumsy. So far, the best example of a newspaper on the iPad is The Wall Street Journal.

Although The Daily can never hope to match the size of WSJ’s reporting team, there is at least the consolation that moving forward, best-of-breed navigation and other elements can be found within the same parent company walls.

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