The Daily News

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In 1919, Joseph Medill Patterson launched the New York Daily News with the promise of a paper “for New Yorkers, by New Yorkers.” The tabloid quickly found success on the subway system, where commuters appreciated its smaller size and easy-to-read layout. The newspaper capitalized on the prevailing fascination with sensational and titillating stories, and it emphasized the use of large pictures and photographs. By the middle of the Roaring Twenties, the Daily News was one of the most widely read newspapers in the country, with a circulation of over a million.

The Daily News became known as the “paper of record” for New York City, and its front page proclaimed it was “The Eyes, the Ears, the Honest Voice of New York.” The paper also cultivated an illustrious reputation as a champion for social justice and the rights of minorities. In the early 1970s, the Daily News rolled out what would become its most famous headline: after President Gerald Ford delivered a speech vetoing a bankruptcy bail-out for New York City, the Daily News declared on its front page that “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD!”

By the end of the decade, the Daily News had consolidated its position as the leading metropolitan newspaper in the United States. Its coverage of political wrongdoing (such as the Teapot Dome Scandal and the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to his abdication) and social intrigue (including celebrity gossip, fashion, and sports) made it a favorite for readers. The newspaper devoted much attention to photography, becoming an early user of the Associated Press wirephoto service in the 1930s and developing a staff of photographers.

In March 1991, controversial British media mogul Robert Maxwell purchased the Daily News from the Tribune Company. The News had been losing money for years, and a long series of strikes had ravaged its production schedule. Maxwell streamlined the Daily News’ operations and introduced cost-saving measures, including the hiring of nonunion workers, which drew criticism from union leaders. The strategy helped revive the News’ fortunes, and it continued to be profitable in the decades that followed.

The Daily News is currently owned by Tronc, a Chicago-based media company. It has a staff of journalists that includes Pulitzer Prize winners and multiple Emmy Award winners. In addition to providing local, national, and international news, the Daily News features New York-exclusives and politics and covers the Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Jets. Every Daily News article contains comprehension and critical thinking questions that are designed to help students understand the story. The Daily News also offers “Background” and “Resources” sections to provide students with additional information.