Changes Afoot at the Daily News

Daily News HQ at 4 New York Plaza (Photo credit: CoStar).

Daily News HQ at 4 New York Plaza (Photo credit: CoStar).

When the Daily News staff returns to the paper’s offices at 4 New York Plaza following a lengthy absence—resulting from extensive Superstorm Sandy-related damage—the staff will look considerably different from the one that left last fall.

Changes are especially prominent on the features desk, editor John Oswald’s departure from which was first reported by Capital New York last week. Mr. Oswald’s last day was last Friday, although his involvement with the paper had lessened since the News’s offices were damaged.

“I was in Jersey on and off,” Mr. Oswald told OTR, referring to the paper’s makeshift newsroom at their printing plant across the river, which the paper operated out of until they left for temporary office space in midtown last month. “I was not there day in and day out.”

Mr. Oswald came to the News in 1997 and succeeded features editor Robert Heiler, who died last May at the age of 60 after a lengthy struggle with cancer. Before becoming the features editor last spring, Mr. Oswald was the deputy managing editor for news.

Deputy editor Raakhee Mirchandani has been assigning, editing and managing features content for the past months. Whether she’ll take over the section’s top post remains a matter of speculation.

The gossip section, which was relaunched as “Confidential” by editor in chief Colin Myler under Mr. Oswald’s watch last summer, has also seen some changes. Of the four columnists who started the page, Carson Griffith, Brian Niemietz, Lisa Lang and Observer alum Nate Freeman, Mr. Niemietz will be the only one returning to 4 New York Plaza. He’s joined by gossip reporter Marianne Garvey, who started on a part-time basis in November and became the section’s editor in January. She’s also a star of City Girl Diaries, a Sex and the City-like reality show on the Style network that’s scheduled to premiere in May.

Both Mr. Niemietz and Ms. Garvey are former New York Post reporters, as is the paper’s new TV editor, Don Kaplan, and Ms. Mirchandani. Former New York Post features reporter and Gawker alum Sheila McClear, who left the Post in September, recently joined the staff as a features reporter.

“I’m a former Post person myself,” Mr. Oswald said, acknowledging there has been an influx of talent from the News’s rival tabloid of late. “They are giving Page Six a run for their money.”

These ongoing changes, which seem to be the News’s attempt to take on the Post’s Page Six and Pulse sections on a national level, appear to come straight from the top. Mr. Myler, who assumed the top of the masthead in January 2012, also comes from the rival tabloid, where he was the Post’s executive editor until he returned to England to edit the phone-hacking-scandal-tainted News of the World before the Murdoch-owned publication folded in 2011.

It is still unclear when the News’s staff will be able to return to its home base, where a fuel spill compounded the flood damage.

CORRECTION: Ms. Garvey is starring in City Girl Diaries on the Style network, not Girlfriend Confidential: NY on the Oxygen network as we originally reported.