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Murdoch's fondleslab epaper axes 50 staff

First app-only news publication The Daily downsizes

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has announced that its tableted news publication The Daily will be axing 50 staff members in cost-cutting moves.

The Daily, first released on iPad only but now available to be fondled on other slabs, was denying rumours of changes at its offices right up until AllThingsD broke the story of the layoffs. Parent News Corp then copped to the plan, saying that the epaper needed to "streamline its production".

Just a couple of weeks ago, editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo took to The Daily's blog to squash rumours the publication was in trouble, ascribing them to "haters".

"As for the latest misinformed, untrue rumours of our imminent demise, I would urge you to ignore them," he said. "The truth is we have over 100,000 paying subs who are renewing their subscriptions at a 98% rate and fantastic advertisers who love our brand and keep coming back for more because they get results. Pay attention to them, not the haters."

Today, he was forced to post again on the blog to talk about "change" at the epaper. As well as making 29 per cent of its workforce redundant, The Daily is also making some other changes. It will now only be available in portrait-mode instead of moving to landscape in response to the devices' internal gyroscopes.

The epaper is also getting rid of its opinion section, shuffling these pieces and editorials in with the news pages when they happen, because of a lack of traffic in the standalone section. The Sports section is also getting a makeover, losing all its reporters in favour of content from other News Corp entities including Fox 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,” Angelo said in the canned statement.

“Unfortunately, these changes have forced us to make difficult decisions and to say goodbye to some colleagues who have worked hard to make The Daily successful."

Angelo, publisher Greg Clayman and News Corp were all keen to stress that they were still committed to the news app and changes were to be expected with such a new media platform.

“We continue to believe in the future of tablet publications because we know the market for tablets and touchscreen devices will only expand,” Clayman said. ®

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