Death of the Daily News

daily news

The Daily News, founded in 1878, is the nation’s oldest college newspaper. It is an independent, nonpartisan, student-run news outlet that covers Yale and New Haven news, sports and culture and publishes Monday through Friday during the academic year. It also produces the Yale Daily News Magazine and special issues such as the Game Day Issue, Commencement Issue, First Year Issue, and a Yale-Harvard edition. The News also maintains an online presence and has a newsstand at the Yale Bookstore.

Daily News provides in-depth city news coverage and political analysis, as well as celebrity gossip, comics, classified ads, a huge sports section (New York is a big town), and opinion sections from award-winning writers and columnists. The News also is known for its photography. The paper’s heyday was in the 1920s, when it used its large staff of photographers to highlight political wrongdoing and social intrigue, such as Wallis Simpson’s romance with King Edward VIII.

In its heyday, the New York Daily News was one of America’s most popular newspapers. It had a brawny metro tabloid format, scooped other publications on breaking news stories and regularly dug into crime and corruption. Its offices were renowned for their bustle, and the building at 220 East 42nd Street in Manhattan was an official city and national landmark designed by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood and later served as the model for the Daily Planet building depicted in the Superman movies.

By the 21st century, however, the newspaper was struggling financially and had to lay off dozens of journalists. It was bought by Tribune Publishing, the Chicago newspaper chain, in 2017 for $1 and has since closed many of its offices.

As the newspaper continues to shrink, a troubling question has emerged: what happens when a local news source dies in a community? This is a question that Andrew Conte seeks to answer with Death of the Daily News, a deeply reported and searching study of what happened when the Daily News in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, shut down in 2015.

Conte’s exploration shows what happens when citizens try to fill the vacuum left by the absence of locally produced news. The story is a grim warning, but it’s also an example of how communities are coping—and how they can learn from the experience to prevent further decline and find better ways forward.