(CTN NEWS) – The New York Times has made the decision to disband its sports department and instead rely on coverage from The Athletic, a website it acquired for $550 million last year.
According to The New York Times, this move will affect more than 35 individuals in the sports department. However, journalists currently working in the sports desk will be reassigned to other positions within the newsroom, and there are no plans for any layoffs.
In a letter to the staff on Monday, New York Times Co. Chairman A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien explained that while they understand this decision may be disappointing to some, they believe it is the right one for the readers.
They also expressed their belief that it will enable them to maximize the unique strengths of both The Times’s and The Athletic’s newsrooms.
The New York Times Expands Sports Coverage through Partnership with The Athletic
According to the New York Times Co., the shift will result in an expansion of sports coverage.
In a letter to the staff, New York Times Co. Chairman A.G. Sulzberger and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien stated, “Under our plan, the digital homepage, newsletters, social feeds, the sports landing page, and the print section will feature an even greater number of the approximately 150 stories produced each day by The Athletic.
These stories cover a wide range of leagues, teams, and players across the United States and around the world.”
The sports writers at The New York Times have received numerous accolades over the years, including Pulitzer Prizes. Arthur Daley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1956 for his column, “Sports of the Times.”
Walter Wellesley (Red) Smith received the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for commentary, and Dave Anderson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for commentary.
Last year, the New York Times Co. announced its acquisition of The Athletic as part of a strategic plan to expand its subscriber base, especially in the face of declining print advertisements. This move aimed to attract more paying subscribers.
Unlike many local news outlets, the New York Times experienced a significant increase in subscribers during Donald Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the newspaper has actively diversified its coverage by including lifestyle advice, games, and recipes to counter the declining traffic from politically-driven news in 2020.
In May, the New York Times reached a new contract agreement with its newsroom union after more than two years of negotiations that included a 24-hour strike. The contract included salary increases, a hybrid work arrangement, and other benefits.
In conclusion, The New York Times has made the strategic decision to disband its sports department and rely on coverage from The Athletic, a website it acquired last year.
This move, while affecting more than 35 individuals in the sports department, will result in a reassignment of journalists to other roles within the newsroom, without any planned layoffs.
RELATED CTN NEWS: