Using Daily News to Teach Media Literacy

Daily news is a collection of current events that can be used to teach students to think critically about the world around them. These resources are available from a variety of different news sources and can be used in multiple ways, including as part of a unit on media literacy or as an everyday part of a classroom lesson. Each article includes comprehension and critical thinking questions that are useful for guiding students as they read the news. The answers to these questions can be found in the “Background” and “Resources” sections that are included with each story.

Founded in 1919, the New York Daily News quickly established itself as one of America’s most influential newspapers. The paper’s success was largely due to its sensational pictorial coverage and willingness to go further than other newspapers in order to garner attention. In one famous example, the Daily News snuck into a prison to capture an image of Ruth Snyder as she was being electrocuted in the electric chair after committing murder. The picture was published on the front page of the newspaper with the headline, “DEAD!”

The Daily News’ editorial content also established a reputation for standing up for the rights of New York City residents, especially those who were perceived as not having a voice in society. This was reflected in the winning of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in 1996 for E.R. Shipp’s piece on race and welfare issues, and in 1998 for Mike McAlary’s coverage of the police beating of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.

In the early 21st century, the Daily News began to see a decline in readership. The emergence of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign gave the Daily News an opportunity to re-establish itself as one of New York’s most prominent news outlets. The paper adopted a more controversial tone, including giving Republican Senator Ted Cruz the middle finger via the Statue of Liberty’s hand and rehashing its most famous headline in the direction of the incoming president: “TRUMP TO WORLD: DROP DEAD!”

During this period, the Daily News also developed a successful weekly insert called BET Weekend for African Americans and launched an online edition. However, as the internet continued to grow in importance, the Daily News saw its circulation wane and in 2017, it was sold for one dollar to its former owners the Tribune Publishing Company (later renamed Tronc). In 2018, the Daily News’s circulation had dropped below a million.

The Daily News Sentiment Index is a high frequency measure of economic sentiment, based on lexical analysis of economics-related news articles. It consists of a time series of trailing weighted averages of the individual article scores, and it is updated on a daily basis. For more information, please refer to Buckman, Shelby R., Adam Hale Shapiro, Moritz Sudhof, and Daniel J. Wilson, 2020, “Measuring News Sentiment,” FRBSF Economic Letter 2021-08. (April 6).) The index is also available in a data table.