In a move that would have been unthinkable before the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Daily News announced Wednesday that its physical newsroom—which still has its distinctive four-faced clock in the center—has been permanently closed. Tribune Publishing, which owns the tabloid and other newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, said the move was part of a reorganization of its editorial department to cut costs. It has also urged its summer journalism interns to consider voluntary buyouts.
The newspaper was founded in 1919 as the Illustrated Daily News by Joseph Medill Patterson and was the first successful U.S. tabloid, reaching its highest circulation in 1947, when it reached 2.4 million readers. It attracted readers with sensational coverage of crime, scandal and violence, lurid photographs and cartoons, and other entertainment stories.
During the 1920s, it also took a political stand by supporting isolationism and later, as the newspaper grew in size, espoused conservative populism. The News shifted its tone in the 1970s, and by the 1990s it had become more of a liberal alternative to the right-wing rival Post. The paper had been owned by New York real estate developer Mortimer Zuckerman since 1993, and he sold it to Tribune Publishing (which was then known as Tronc) for $1 in 2017.
In recent years, the Daily News has fallen behind its rivals in readership and advertising revenue. The newspaper has made an effort to reinvigorate itself as an anti-Trump alternative, but critics say it has failed to deliver. In addition, the newspaper’s parent company, Tribune Publishing, has faced financial challenges.
As a result of the company’s ongoing losses, in November 2016 it began cutting staff and closing offices. In January 2017, it fired its top editor, Jim Rich, who had led an effort to make the Daily News more progressive. In May 2018, it was reported that the company was considering a bankruptcy filing for its newspapers.
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