There has been much ink spilled about last month’s staff-gutting layoffs at the New York Daily News, the tabloid that had its job numbers cut in half by parent company Tronc in late July. A staff that once numbered 400 now would soldier on with just 45 journalists, an unthinkable proposition in America’s media capital.
But one of the lingering questions was the status of sports columnist Mike Lupica, the paper’s most visible personality after nearly 40 years there. His most recent Daily News byline — atop a column about Tiger Woods — is from July 22, one day before the layoffs were announced.
That mystery was solved Thursday, when a spokeswoman for Esther “Lobster” Newberg, Lupica’s agent, told the New York Post that “Mike left the Daily News” to revive the Sunny Randall detective series started by the late novelist Robert B. Parker. Lupica’s first installment in his Randall series, “Blood Feud,” is set to be published in November.
Lupica has written numerous books, both fiction and nonfiction, with his most recent literary output focusing on stories for young adults.
Tronc spokeswoman Marisa Kollias declined to shed any light on the New York Post story, noting in an email that the company does not comment on personnel matters, so the details of his separation remain unclear. He reportedly was to be included in a previous round of Daily News layoffs in 2015, but he worked out an agreement to stay in exchange for a salary cut. The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel attempted to clear up Lupica’s job status Thursday, before the New York Post story appeared, but was unable to get a straight answer.
Except for brief stints with the National Sports Daily and New York’s Newsday in the 1990s, Lupica had been with the Daily News since becoming a sports columnist for the paper in 1977. His columns were at one time considered must-reads for New York sports fans, and he was one of the most visible personalities at the Daily News thanks to his frequent appearances as a panelist on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters.” (He became its host in 2016, though the network canceled the Sunday-morning staple the next year.)
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