The owner of the New York Daily News announced on Monday that it would be terminating half of its editorial staff.

"To capture the opportunities ahead and address the significant financial challenges we have faced for years, we are fundamentally restructuring the Daily News," reads a memo sent to the paper's staff from Tronc (formerly known as the Tribune Publishing), which also owns the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, and other regional newspapers.

Listen to WNYC's Jami Floyd discuss the layoffs with Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair senior media correspondent.

The letter, tweeted by Daily Beast reporter Max Tani, says that editor-in-chief Jim Rich, and managing editor Kristen Lee "will be departing," and that the cuts are aimed at "re-focusing much of our talent on breaking news—especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility."

Robert York, the publisher and editor of The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has been named editor-in-chief.

Reached by telephone, York told Gothamist he wasn't ready to talk about how he intends to lead the paper with 50 percent fewer editorial staff.

"I need to regroup and figure this out because there was a timing sequence to this that's now, not being adhered to, in terms of the announcement," York said.

After a long period of trying to sell the Daily News, which was losing tens of millions a year, for years, billionaire Mort Zuckerman sold the newspaper to Tronc in September 2017 for one dollar and the assumption of its debts and liabilities, which were pegged at around $100 million.

But in 2018, Tronc itself started a reorganization. In February, they sold the LA Times for $500 million to local health care billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. And in March, they began centralizing design and production in Chicago.

A spokesperson for Tronc did not immediately respond to our questions. The memo states that laid-off employees will continue to receive pay for 90 days.

A Daily News employee who was laid off today said that around 40 people are expected to lose their jobs, and that the focus is on “the people with the most experience and bigger paychecks.”

The layoffs include the politics editor Dareh Gregorian, theater critic Joe Dziemianowicz, photo assignment editor Reggie Lewis, copy chief Jon Blackwell, and breaking news editor Zach Haberman, according to the employee.

“Tronc says they want to focus on breaking news, and then they lay off the guy in charge of breaking news!” said the employee, who has worked at the paper for more than five years, asked to speak anonymously because their severance agreement includes a non-disparagement clause.

The employee said that everyone who was laid off was offered three months of pay and four weeks of severance.

“Some people worked here for decades, so that's a hit in the face,” the employee said.

“Tronc says a lot of things about how they care about local journalism, and they care about getting it right, but take a look at what they do to the good people who were pumping out the journalism jazz for them every single day,” the employee said, noting that some workers attended this morning’s meeting after working until 2 a.m.

“We’re in the right place at the wrong time. We are where we're supposed to be, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. All this bullshit is preventing us from doing it right,” they added.

“I feel bad for the people who have to put out the paper tomorrow. But they’ll do it, because they’re professionals.”

In emails to his "agents of the city" that were finally released earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio mused that the Daily News' destruction "would be good for us, right?"

Asked to comment on today's layoffs, mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips pointed to a tweet the mayor made this morning: "It’s no secret that I’ve disagreed with the Daily News from time to time. But Tronc’s greedy decision to gut the newsroom is bad for government and a disaster for NYC. Tronc should sell the paper to someone committed to local journalism and keeping reporters on the beat."

Governor Andrew Cuomo also made a tweet criticizing Tronc's decision, and said that "New York State stands ready to help," but it's not clear what kind of help he's referring to.

Staff photographer Anthony DelMundo, City Hall reporter Erin Durkin, Albany correspondent Glenn Bain, courts reporter Victoria Bekiempis, reporter Andy Mai, reporter Edgar Sandoval, and sports reporter Frank Isola all tweeted that they had been laid off.

Update: Grant Whitmore, Tronc's executive vice president & general manager, who led the meeting announcing the layoffs this morning, apparently just told staffers that the print edition is not dead (yet).

We'll update this post as we learn more. If you're a News employee and would like to talk, please send us an email.