A daily newspaper is a periodical publication that contains news, commentary and advertising. Historically, it has been published on paper; today most newspapers are also published online as a digital version. Newspapers are usually distributed through subscriptions, newsstand sales or by direct mail. They typically contain national and international news as well as local news, often with a specific focus on some aspect of society, politics or the economy. Those with high editorial independence, journalism quality and large circulation are viewed as newspapers of record.
Newspapers have a number of functions, but all aim to inform the public and spark debate about current events and trends. They also provide entertainment, help people make decisions and promote social awareness. They also serve as a chronicle of history and culture, although they are not the only source for this information. Other sources include television, radio and the Internet.
A typical newspaper includes sections that deal with politics and government; business and economics; crime, accidents and disasters; sports; health and medicine; the environment and agriculture; and society, food and cooking, and clothing and home fashion. Some are specialized, such as those dealing with the arts and music. Most have an editorial page expressing the editor’s opinion on a public issue; other pages may have opinion articles called “op-eds” written by guest writers; and columns that express personal opinions of columnists.
The overall manager or chief executive of a newspaper is called the publisher. This person is responsible for selecting the content of the newspaper, and he or she supervises various editors who oversee individual subject areas. The senior editor is known as the editor-in-chief or executive editor; less senior editors are sometimes referred to as department heads or bureau chiefs.
Traditionally, most newspapers were printed on a cheap, low-grade paper called newsprint; however, since the 1990s most have switched to cheaper and easier-to-print computer-based printing methods. Most print newspapers only on weekdays, but some publish a Sunday edition (often several times larger in size than the weekly edition).
Many people around the world read newspapers. The availability and accessibility of the newspapers vary by region; for example, some countries have a tradition of distributing daily newspapers, while others only distribute them weekly. Newspapers are available through subscriptions, at newsstands and shops, by mail, over the Internet as online newspapers, and on cable and satellite television channels.
Most newspapers are privately owned, but some are publicly owned and operated. Most receive their operating income from a combination of subscription, newsstand and advertising revenues. Some are also supported by governmental funds. The independence of a newspaper is often determined by its ownership structure, with some being highly independent and others more politically or financially aligned with their owners.
The Yale Daily News is a student-run newspaper that has been in operation for more than 130 years. It is the oldest college daily in the United States and is published every day that Yale is in session. Its alumni have gone on to careers in journalism and public life, including William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, John Hersey and Joseph Lieberman. The Yale Daily News has a long-standing tradition of reporting on controversial or sensitive topics.