Rupert Murdoch's Daily Cuts 50 Staffers

3:51 PM PST 07/31/2012 by Eriq Gardner
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch

The tablet publication that launched with much buzz 18 months ago is trimming 30 percent of its staff.

The Daily, the attempt by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. to introduce a newspaper for the tablet generation, is slashing its staff by 50 employees.

News Corp. announced the move shortly after it was first reported by All Things D.

The staff layoffs will hit the paper's editorial and sports division heaviest, with trimmings to the design and production staff as well. Up until now, The Daily has 170 employees.

According to a press release by the company, the staff reorganization is "designed to streamline its production, focus resources on its most popular features, and reflect the changing business environment for news and media."

The Daily was launched with much fanfare in early February, 2011 at an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. At that time, Murdoch said he wanted a publication that would look great on a tablet like Apple's iPad and he recruited many notable reporters from publications like Forbes and The New Yorker.

The publication charged subscribers 99 cents for a weekly subscription or $39.99 for an annual subscription. After a year in operation, the tablet-based pub had earned about 100,000 subscriptions and 250,000 unique readers each month. The publication's budget has been estimated at $500,000 per week. Murdoch is reported to have once estimated that it would take 500,000 subscribers to make The Daily profitable. News Corp. at large recently announced plans to split the company into two entertainment and publishing companies.

Jesse Angelo, the publication's editor-in-chief, has had to persistently battle back word of financial troubles in recent months. In a memo to staff last month, he pointed to a 98 percent subscription rate and fantastic advertisers. "Pay attention to them, not the haters," he urged his employees.

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Angelo is now putting a positive face on today's dour news.

"These are important changes that will allow The Daily to be more nimble editorially and to focus on the elements that our readers have told us through their consumption that they like and want,” he said.  "Our standards will not diminish as we move forward, nor will our enthusiasm for creating an outstanding daily digital publication.”

Despite the financial issues that have caused cut-backs, the tablet publication has been credited with several scoops, from developments on how the NFL has dealt with concussion litigation to rather ironically, recent news that Aaron Sorkin would be cutting the writing staff on HBO's Newsroom.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner

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