Death of a Daily News

daily news

In an era when local newspapers are disappearing at an alarming rate, the story of what happens in a community when its news source fails is largely unknown. In Death of a Daily News, journalist Andrew Conte offers clues to the future of journalism in his careful and deeply reported study of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which found its newspaper shuttered in 2015. In this smart and perceptive look at a modern American tragedy, Conte shows how citizens attempt to make sense of their communities and become their own gatekeepers to information.

The New York Daily News (also known as the Daily News and abbreviated as DN) is a tabloid American newspaper founded in 1919 by Joseph Medill Patterson as the Illustrated Daily News. It was the first daily printed in tabloid format, and it quickly became America’s largest newspaper with a peak circulation of 2.4 million copies a day. The News attracted readers with sensational coverage of crime and scandal, lurid photographs, and cartoons. It was one of the early adopters of the Associated Press wire photo service and developed its own large staff of photographers. The newspaper also had a strong reputation for investigative journalism and political analysis.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the News embraced isolationism, but after the start of World War II it began to shift its political stance, becoming a proponent of conservative populism. The newspaper’s editorial stance is now described as “flexibly centrist” with a high-minded, if populist, legacy.

In a time when the business model of the traditional daily newspaper is being challenged by digital and online alternatives, the newspaper’s new owner, the hedge fund Alden Capital, has instituted layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to save money. Some insiders say the Daily News will fail without a dramatic revamp.

The Yale Daily News Historical Archive is a collection of digitized issues of the newspaper. The archive is open to the public and includes more than 140 years of YDN reporting. The digitized versions of the issues are indexed and searchable. This project was made possible by an anonymous gift from a Yale alumnus. For more information, please see the About page.