The New York Times Sports Desk Officially Closes
It is official, the New York Times Sports Desk officially closed and released its last sports section ever Monday. Dozens of sports staffers marched through the offices today and read the names of past and present members of the sports staff.
Starting Tuesday, The Athletic will provide the majority of the Times sports coverage in print and online.
In July, the Times announced that they would disband the sports desk and have been relocating sports staffers to different departments ever since. This has outraged The NewsGuild, which is the union that represents the Times newsroom–accusing the Times leadership of union-busting and filing a grievance in July with the newspaper.
The Athletic is not unionized and the Times will be contracting with them in the same way it does with the Associated Press.
“The people who run The Times let our department twist in the wind, either purposely obscuring their plans for the future of sports coverage at The Times or spending $550 million on another sports publication without an editorial plan,” sports investigative reporter Jenny Vrentas said, according to The Washington Post. “The way they’ve chosen to handle this has been unfair to workers at both The Times and The Athletic.”
Despite the sports desk closure, The Times company will cover sports more than ever. The Times reportedly paid $550 million to acquire The Athletic and all of its subscribers. Although this was a business decision for the Times, some long-time staff members will still be taken care of.
Writers Tyler Kepner and editor Matthew Futterman were hired to continue sports coverage at The Athletic; Oscar Garcia will also continue his career at The Athletic as an editorial director and liaison between the two publications.
Although those staffers and many others have found new homes, the news is still unfortunate. The New York Times Sports Desk will always be an iconic example of sports journalism. Hopefully, everyone who has relocated or is looking for a job finds success in their new ventures.