The Daily News and the Covid-19 Pandemic

daily news

The Daily News was one of the nation’s first tabloid newspapers, famous for screamers like “Ford to City: Drop Dead!” but also intense city news coverage, celebrity gossip, classified ads, comics and a sports section. It was an early user of the Associated Press wirephoto service and employed a staff of photographers. The Daily News became a major force in the city’s cultural life and influenced the development of other New York tabloids.

The newspaper’s early successes were built on its emphasis on political wrongdoing and social intrigue (such as the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII that led to the latter’s abdication). It also emphasized its role in exposing corruption and in the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been a regular contributor to the paper. The Daily News also helped launch television and radio (WPIX and WFAN) in the 1920s, and its building at 450 West 33rd Street was used as the world headquarters for the Associated Press until it was replaced by the new Reuters global headquarters.

Despite a steady decline in circulation since the mid-20th century, the Daily News remains a leading metropolitan newspaper. In the past decade, its readership has rebounded slightly, but its financial fortunes remain troubled and it continues to lose advertising revenue. Moreover, the newspaper has faced competition from online sources such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as the rise of subscription-based digital services such as Netflix.

As of March 2020, the Daily News has an estimated total print and digital circulation of 24.3 million, down 19% year-over-year. This is largely due to the fact that its previous owner, Lee Enterprises, was acquired by Alden Capital, which has enacted buyouts and layoffs since taking over in late 2018.

Analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic news coverage of CD and NYT through a corpus-based approach to news values shows similarities between the two media, but some important differences. Both media foreground the news values of Proximity, Negativity, Eliteness, and Personalization in reporting on domestic Covid-19 news, but CD and NYT differ in how they present the Covid-19 pandemic in other countries.

The most significant difference between the two media is in how they present Eliteness and Personalization. Concordance lines for the keyword ‘Eliteness’ show that NYT stresses Eliteness more when reporting on pandemic news in its home country than in other countries, which is manifested by the use of titles for national leaders (e.g., ‘Trump’, ‘Boris Johnson’), internationally recognized organizations (e.g., ‘WHO’, ‘UN’), and coronavirus vaccine companies (e.g., ‘Moderna’, ‘AstraZeneca’). By contrast, CD emphasizes Eliteness in its international news more than NYT does in its domestic news. It also stresses Personalization more than NYT does in its international news. In both cases, however, the emphasized news values do not change the overall narrative of the pandemic as negative and impactful. However, they do affect how the news is presented.