Death of the Daily News
The Daily News is an American newspaper published in tabloid format. It is the oldest and most famous of New York City’s many newspapers, having served as a major source of local, national, and international news in the United States since its founding in 1919. During its long run as one of the nation’s most popular newspapers, it became known for its coverage of local politics and government, crime, and sports. The paper also emphasized celebrity gossip and other popular topics that resonated with readers, including political wrongdoing like the Teapot Dome Scandal and social intrigue such as the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to her abdication.
The paper was first based in the landmark 220 East 42nd Street building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, designed by architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood. The News remained in the building until 1995. The newspaper’s storied history includes numerous major events and scandals, and it is the subject of several books. The paper was also the namesake of a television and radio station, which was originally located in the 42nd Street building (the call letters were derived from the newspaper’s nickname, “New York’s Picture Newspaper”) and now is a part of the CBS Radio family as WFAN-FM, which still occupies the former New York City office space.
With the rise of digital media, the role of traditional newspapers is changing. Some newspapers have merged with other publications or closed altogether, while others are struggling to find an audience online. The Daily News has been losing subscribers for years, but it is fighting to stay afloat. Its future is uncertain, especially in light of the fact that a hedge fund has taken control of Tribune Publishing, which owns the paper.
In Death of the Daily News, Andrew Conte looks at what happens when a newspaper dies, and how communities cope with it. His book is a brilliantly-reported account of what happened in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, when the Daily News shut down in 2015. It is a sobering read, but it is also a ray of hope for journalism and for communities that are struggling to make sense of their own news.
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