The New York Daily News

The New York Daily News

As the first successful tabloid in America, the Daily News attracted readers with sensational coverage of crime and scandal, lurid photographs, and cartoons. Founded in 1919 as the Illustrated Daily News, it became the New York Daily News in 1920. At its peak in 1947, the newspaper reached circulation of 2.4 million copies a day.

By the 1980s, the News was struggling financially. Its owners, the Tribune Company, had yielded to union demands on rules and job numbers, and labor costs were swallowing up 44 percent of the paper’s revenue. Closing the tabloid altogether was considered, but it was determined that severance pay and pensions would cost too much.

In an effort to rediscover its earning potential, the News under publisher Mort Zuckerman repositioned itself as “a serious tabloid.” He also made several large capital investments. In 1993, the News moved to color presses, allowing it to compete with USA Today and other major dailies in visual quality. The newspaper also developed a reputation for protecting the First Amendment and rights of those who were often ignored by other media outlets.

Throughout its history, the News has covered many major events and controversies in New York City and beyond. The newspaper has won a number of Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, including the 1996 award for E.R. Shipp’s pieces on race and welfare, and the 1998 award for Mike McAlary’s coverage of police brutality against Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. In addition, the News has maintained a strong editorial position on political candidates and ballot measure issues, which are covered in Ballotpedia.

The News has also built a solid reputation for investigative journalism and its willingness to go where others have been afraid to tread. In 1928, a reporter strapped a camera to his leg and snapped the photo of Ruth Snyder being executed in the electric chair, which was published the next day with the headline “DEAD!”

By the 1990s, the Daily News had developed its largest staff ever and built up a substantial online presence. The newspaper continued to maintain local bureaus in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. It also has a television station, WPIX, whose call letters are based on its nickname of “New York’s Picture Newspaper.”

In 1995, the Daily News left its home of 65 years in the News Building for a single-floor office at 5 Manhattan West. That same year, the newspaper began publishing BET Weekend, a quarterly (later monthly) insert for African Americans. The News has since expanded this to a nationwide network of inserts. The News has also been a pioneer in introducing its content on the Internet.