Earlier on Thursday, New York Post media columnist Keith J. Kelly reported that The Daily News was laying off sports editor Eric Barrow and eliminating the sports editor position altogether. The report was based on Barrow’s email to staff that he would not be replaced by a new editor.

“Well folks, I have just been told that I’ve been let go. My position is being eliminated. Not sure what that means for the sports dept. but today is my last day. As a matter of fact, I’m being asked to leave ASAP.”

The Daily News sports department had already been hard hit by an unprecedented downsizing in July, in which the newsroom was cut in half to about 40 people as part of overall cuts of about 110 people.

As Barrow mentioned in his note, 2018 was a disastrous year for Daily News editorial staff with massive layoffs across the sports department. But the news that the Daily News would be eliminating the sports editor role altogether signaled a giant step backward in a Tronc-esque way.

However, it turns out the story was more of a misunderstanding. Yes, the role of sports editor was being eliminated. But the role is also evolving into something new. As Andrew Marchand reported, Former 538 senior editor and Deadspin contributor Kyle Wagner would be joining the Daily News as their “Director of Digital Audience Development for Sports,” which is quite the mouthful.

Wagner put it is much simpler terms on his announcement.

As for what the new title means in terms of job description and oversight, it remains to be seen. The big question is whether or not this latest layoff is the end of a particular cycle for the NYDN and the start of a new, online-centric version of the outlet (as the title suggests), or if there’s more to come. It’s hard to believe there are many more expendable sports staffers there to begin with.

[Andrew Marchand]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.