Last November, The Times named Washington Post senior editor Stephen Ginsburg as executive editor of The Athletic. In June, The Athletic laid off nearly 20 reporters and transferred more than 20 others to new jobs. Its leaders said the outlet no longer assigns at least one reporter to each sports team.
The journalists on site are not unionized, unlike many of the journalists in the Times newsroom. In a statement released Monday, the union representing the newsroom described the move as an attempt to “union-bust”.
The acquisition of The Athletic raised questions about the future of The Times’ sports department, which included many prominent journalists. It was the sports column of the times started b John Kieran in 1927, and would later feature a distinguished group of writers, including Robert Lipsit, William Roden, Harvey Araton, Selina Roberts, George Vesey, and Ira Berko.
Three Sports of The Times columnists, Arthur Daley, Reed Smith, and Dave Anderson, have won Pulitzer Prizes for their sports writing. Another sports reporter, John Branch, had won a Pulitzer Prize winner in 2013 for his filming of a deadly avalanche in Washington state, and Josh Haner won a photography prize in 2014 for documenting the recovery of a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing.
In recent years, with the advent of digital media, the Times sports section has begun to downsize, as have many other national and local newspapers. The department lost its independent daily printing division. Not every home team is assigned a good reporter. Square scores disappeared.
On Sunday, a group of nearly 30 members of The Times sports bureau sent a letter to Mr Kahn and AG Sulzberger, publisher of The Times, chastising the company for letting its sports staff “whirl in the wind” since buying The Sportsman.
Mr Kahn and other members of The Times masthead met with the Sports Bureau on Monday. The meeting was controversial, according to two people who were in attendance, as sports reporters pressed Mr. Kahn about why they had not been briefed on the company’s plans. Mr Kahn said they were “unfair” to say that Headline had waited to share the full plan and that the organization had worked hard to find jobs for everyone, the two people said.
In an email to the company on Monday, Mr. Sulzberger and Meredith Cobbett-Levian, chief executive of The Times, wrote, “Although we know this decision will be disappointing to some, we believe it is the right one for our readers.”
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