It's a familiar story: Highly credentialed players get cut from the team. At the Daily News 17 were laid off. Track record and talent don't stop the budget-watchers from swinging the ax. Here is the coverage.
The lesson for professionals in all lines of work, not only journalism is clear: Your compensation can and probably will make you vulnerable to a lay off. Or, a worse case scenario is that the powers that be will begin documenting your alleged lousy performance. Come the next performance review and you go from "exceeds expectations" to "needs improvement." That's code for: You're toast.
Sure you can push back through a lawyer. That might help with the good-bye package. However, jobs are rarely saved.
Takeaway: Develop capitalistic instincts about how long a shelf life you have in any employment situation. If "they" want you gone, you will be disappeared. Instead of getting stuck in shock, scramble in experimenting for The Next.