The Daily News

The Daily News is a tabloid newspaper published in New York City. Founded in 1919, it was the first metropolitan paper to publish in color. It has a long history of investigative journalism and was one of the first papers to report on the Civil Rights Movement. It has been a champion of the First Amendment and has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of New Yorkers who are under the radar. The Daily News also has a well-established reputation for fair and balanced editorial positions on various political candidates, ballot measure issues and public policy topics.

The genesis of the Daily News can be traced back to Joseph Medill Patterson, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. In 1919, he partnered with another Tribune co-publisher to launch the New York Daily News. It was originally a broadsheet, but in 1924 the newspaper switched to a tabloid format. Its success during the 1920s can be attributed to its sensational pictorial coverage and willingness to go further than competitors in pursuit of an attention-grabbing story, such as when reporter Tom Howard strapped a camera to his leg while the executioner administered Ruth Snyder her electric chair sentence for murdering her husband. The photo of Snyder mid-electrocution was splashed across the front page, proving to be the Daily News’ most successful cover ever.

In the 1930s, the Daily News was a major early user of the Associated Press wirephoto service and employed a number of talented columnists, including Ed Sullivan. Its success continued into the 1940s, when it was the largest newspaper in America and had a national circulation of over 1 million. By the 1950s, it had established a local bureau in each of New York’s five boroughs and had radio and television affiliates. It was at this time that the newspaper reached its peak in distribution, with an estimated 2.4 million readers each day and 4.7 million on Sundays.

By the late 1970s, however, the News began to see a decline in its readership. The paper cited a multi-union strike as the reason, but some pointed out that price increases and production problems were to blame. By 1978, the Daily News was losing 145,000 readers a day.

As the decades passed, the Daily News sank further into the red and, by the 1980s, was losing $1 million per month. It considered closing the paper altogether, but feared that the cost of severance payments and pensions would exceed its revenues. It also could not afford to pay for a negotiated settlement with the unions.

In 1991, British media mogul Robert Maxwell purchased the newspaper. Maxwell, who owned the Daily Mirror tabloid on which the Daily News was based, saw an opportunity to create a New York-based rival to the dominant Times and Post newspapers. He was able to entice some of the paper’s unions to accept his offer of more lucrative contracts, and circulation recovered. The Daily News is now the largest newspaper in New York City with a print and online audience of more than 7 million.