Death of the Daily News

A century ago, the Daily News set a new standard for journalism. Its stories, often harrowing, always informed readers of what was happening in their community and around the world. Now, many communities have lost their newspapers as technology causes massive disruption to the business of news. And for those without local news, life can be difficult. In Death of the Daily News, Andrew Conte looks at what happens in a town when its newspaper closes and how citizens are trying to build a new kind of local journalism.

Conte, a journalist with deep experience in both national and local news, has written this rich and fascinating anatomy of what happens when a paper dies and how a community copes, a subject that is far too relevant to our times as ‘news deserts’ proliferate throughout America and beyond. He sounds the alarm about communities that are struggling to make sense of what is going on around them and separate fact from gossip, but he also offers hope that a new type of local journalism can flourish.

In the beginning, the Daily News had a strong conservative lean and supported isolationism during World War II. Later, it leaned more to the center and became known for its high-minded, if populist, legacy. It backed President Kennedy and Senator John F. Kennedy for president in 1960, and supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also opposed the Vietnam War and promoted abortion rights. The paper had a renowned photo department and a large circulation. The building where it was headquartered, designed by architect John Mead Howells and built in 1929, is an iconic landmark. It straddles the tracks leading into Pennsylvania Station and is now called Manhattan West. In 1948 the News founded television station WPIX, whose call letters are derived from the newspaper’s nickname, and it also operated the radio station WWFM.

The Yale Daily News, founded on January 28, 1878, is the oldest college daily in the United States. It is editorially and financially independent and has published Monday through Friday during the academic year since its founding. It has long been the primary source of news and debate at Yale. Its editors, writers, and contributors have gone on to important careers in journalism, public service, and academia. Its contributors have included William F. Buckley, Lan Samantha Chang, John Hersey, Joseph Lieberman, Sargent Shriver, and Strobe Talbott.

The Yale Daily News Historical Archive, a project of the Yale Library, contains digitized copies of the YDN from its first issue through September, 2021. The archive is freely accessible to the general public. For information on obtaining permission to reproduce YDN content, please visit the YDN Rights and Permissions site. The YDN Digital Archive is made possible by an anonymous gift to the Yale University Library. To donate, click here. YDN is grateful for your support.

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