Updated at 12:25 p.m. ET
Chicago-based Tronc, the newspaper chain that owns The Chicago Tribune, has struck a deal to buy The New York Daily News.
The venerable tabloid, long a staple of New York’s working class and subway patrons, will reportedly be purchased for $1 and the assumption of operational and pension liabilities, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Although the details have not been made public, Reuters reports that Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing Company, will assume roughly $30 million in liabilities.
As NPR’s David Folkenflik reports: “The Daily News, much like Tronc itself, is much diminished and has struggled to secure a firm financial footing.”
Justin Dearborn, Tronc’s chief executive officer, was quoted by the Tribune as saying, “This is a great deal for the paper and for us.
“We expect it to benefit greatly from becoming part of the Tronc ecosystem,” he said.
The Daily News has showed more restraint than the rival Murdoch-owned New York Post, embracing a populist liberalism in response to the rise of Donald Trump as a candidate and president, David says.
A hint of gloating was evident in The Post’s story in today’s edition about the sale. It wrote that The News and its billionaire owner, Mortimer Zuckerman, struck a deal with Tronc “to essentially give away its business.”
The Post writes: “In the past few years, the paper’s staff has gone through layoffs and buyouts. And while most newspapers have experienced drops in circulation, the News’ has plummeted.”
Meanwhile, The New York Times offers that the sale of the newspaper “may also signal the end of the political influence of [Zuckerman], who often used the paper’s bold, front-page headline — known as ‘the wood’ — for commentary about candidates and politicians, locally and nationally.
“The News once boasted A-list columnists including Liz Smith, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, but it has been worn down by a grinding tabloid war with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled New York Post. And like the rest of the newspaper industry, The News has been battered and bruised by the internet age, when the equivalent of pithy headlines — a staple of The News — come a mile a minute on Twitter.”
Kevin Convey, a former editor-in-chief at The Daily News who is now an assistant professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University, said the sale of the paper to Tronc “highlights the continuing struggles of former print powerhouses to adapt to the digital age.”
“In buying it, Tronc is betting on two things: That it can execute the pivot to digital production and distribution faster and more effectively than the Daily News did — thus reducing its multi-million-dollar-a-year losses — and that its former big-time print platforms in LA, Chicago and, now, New York, will prove attractive enough to national advertisers to help float the boat as it tries to do so,” Convey wrote in an email to NPR.
Tronc also owns large regional papers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, as well as newspapers in South Florida and Hartford, among others. Tribune Publishing owned The Daily News for decades before selling it a generation ago to Zuckerman.