‘The medium is changing, not us’: DNA shuts down print edition

October 10 will see the last print editions from Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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In its October 9 edition, the Daily News & Analysis announced that “print publication for Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be ceased effective 10th October 2019, Thursday till further notice”.

In a 200-word front page notice, the paper emphasised — overemphasised, perhaps — that while it was “turning digital”, “Please do remember, only the medium is changing, not us. Instead of your doorsteps, we will now keep travelling with you wherever you are.”

DNA started in 2005 but has been going through a tough squeeze since earlier this year. In February 2019, Newslaundry reported on the winding up of the newspaper’s Delhi edition and its “conversion into a bureau”. “Management wants to concentrate on main Mumbai edition and get back its lost glory,” said an internal message circulated among employees.

“It was all very sudden,” an employee at the paper told Newslaundry at the time.

A little over a fortnight after the closure of its Delhi edition, DNA’s Jaipur edition was shut down on February 21. The decision was taken to “optimise cost and cut-down losses”.

In June, Newslaundry detailed the reasons for DNA‘s decline, commencing from May this year. They included debt and a lack of profit on the books of the Essel Group — which controls the Zee and DNA empire —  and its suspicious financial links that were reported by The Wire earlier this year.

In a face-to-face meeting with the Mumbai bureau in April, proprietor Subhash Chandra had admitted that he “would have to work hard and that even though he had had many losses in DNA, it was his fault since he had not paid much attention to the paper”.

In May, the daily reportedly handed over 26 pink slips, 25 of them to employees in the editorial team, including reporters, photographers and designers. Besides this, four reporters were cut from the Delhi bureau and two from Ahmedabad. Two reporters from Kolkata and Kashmir were also laid off.

A few days before these layoffs, Reliance Mutual Fund had sold off pledged Zee shares worth ₹410 crore. RMF sold these shares in the open market, with a consequent 9.7 per cent decline in share prices after a five per cent decline the previous day. It was the first big fund to sell Zee’s pledged shares after various mutual funds entered into an agreement with Essel Group that they would not exit their holdings till September.

A senior reporter told Newslaundry at the time: “These [layoffs] taking place in bits and pieces is giving the newspaper a slow death. If you’re shutting down editions, then you should remove editorial too — you’re not even doing that. They’re just kept hanging in limbo. Basically, now the company is looking to break even because they’re not even achieving the operational cost.”


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