The New York Daily News is a storied newspaper. A landmark of the metropolis, it once dominated the morning newspaper market. In fact, it was the first tabloid newspaper published in the U.S. Founded in 1919 as the Illustrated Daily News, it soon became the country’s largest paper. With a circulation of 1.5 million by 1930, it was a force to be reckoned with. Its photo-heavy front pages and lurid crime coverage won it plenty of readers. But it also had the honor of being the first newspaper to receive a Pulitzer Prize, for a series of photographs depicting the execution of a black man in the Bronx.
In addition to its robust news coverage, the Daily News boasted a staff of photographers that rivaled those of any major newspaper. Indeed, it was so well-stocked that it was the first to use the Associated Press wirephoto service. As a result, it was a model for the Daily Planet building in the Superman movies. And it still operates today. By the end of 2016, the paper had a circulation of more than 200,000 copies.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Daily News is that it has survived despite a number of shake-ups. For one, its ownership changed from the New York News, Inc. to the Tronc media conglomerate. This was in part due to an agreement in which the paper was paid a dollar to take over its liabilities. Another interesting aspect is that it now operates a subsidiary called WPIX, which is an FM simulcast of the AM radio station it once owned. Despite its ostensible impending demise, the newspaper is still a city landmark.
Not to be overlooked is the Daily News’s interactive version. This newer form of the newspaper includes a full digital replica of the print edition, plus digital tools like interactive maps and sharing features. Designed for both desktops and mobile devices, the daily paper is a time saver and a pleasure to read.
Probably the most intriguing aspect of the Daily News is its mission to chronicle the everyday lives of residents in New York. Since its inception, the newspaper has served as a voice for the voiceless. From the earliest days of World War II, the Daily News supported the isolationist cause. During that period, the paper’s photography staff took some of the most stunning shots of battlefield action, as well as of the most compelling people, places and events.
Perhaps the most important lesson of the book is that the loss of a local newspaper can be catastrophic. While some communities can feasibly continue to print their own newspapers, a large number of Americans are finding themselves in what is known as a “news desert.” Essentially, these areas are missing out on the benefits of having an informed citizenry.
Whether it is the latest technology or a changing societal context, the Daily News is a testament to the power of the newspaper. Even though it is no longer able to hold the attention of a metropolitan area with a single headline, it still has a mission. That is to keep the people of New York informed and entertained.