Daily News Carries on Following Death of Robert Maxwell With AM-Maxwell, Bjt
NEW YORK (AP) _ Except for the heavy black border around page one and seven pages of stories about the death of billionaire publisher Robert Maxwell, it was business as usual Wednesday at his Daily News.
Industry analysts said the paper and its 1,900 employees faced an uncertain future following the death of the British media mogul who saved the News from extinction last March. News officials were more upbeat.
″After you get through the shock and the sorrow - and nobody has - it’s a renewed commitment,″ said John Campi, the paper’s chief spokesman.
Kevin Maxwell, 32, was named chairman and publisher of the News within hours of his father’s death. He was expected to fly to New York on Thursday to meet with the paper’s executives, Campi said.
Campi said Kevin Maxwell, the youngest of Maxwell’s seven children, was as committed to the News’ future as his father had been. ″They would talk on the phone as often as seven times a day,″ he said.
The News’ page one carried a large picture of a smiling Maxwell, wearing a Daily News baseball cap, and the words: ″Farewell Robert Maxwell 1923-1991.″
Maxwell, 68, was found dead in the Atlantic off the Canary Islands on Tuesday, 14 hours after he vanished from aboard his 180-foot luxury yacht, Lady Ghislain. Initial autopsy results indicated he died of natural causes and had fallen from the boat, officials said.
Maxwell saved the strike-torn Daily News last March by interceding at the last minute to negotiate contracts with its unions and forge a deal to take over the paper from Chicago-based Tribune Co.
Since then, the paper that for decades was the nation’s biggest has been recovering some circulation and advertising, but still losing money. Maxwell had said he hoped to start turning a new profit by next March, a year after assuming the News’ debt, estimated at up to $100 million.
That commitment was expressed to News readers by Kevin Maxwell. In a statement in Wednesday’s edition, he said the paper’s plans for upgrading facilities, expanding editorial content and increasing circulation ″will proceed on schedule.″
″The Daily News, like the city Robert Maxwell grew to love, always bounces back. My father would want you to know that,″ he said.
Leaders of the unions who fought the News’ former management in last winter’s bitter, 4 1/2 -month strike, welcomed the Maxwell family’s swift statements of reassurance about the paper’s future.
Barry Lipton, president of the New York Newspaper Guild, which represents editorial, advertising and clerical workers, said the unions’ immediate concern was eased.
″I think we’re back on course,″ Lipton said.